A building in Rome owned by a convent will be used as a reception centre for up to 60 asylum seekers, the chaplain responsible for the Vatican's charitable works announced Monday.

Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, dubbed Pope Francis's "Robin Hood" by the Italian press, said in a statement that the centre would welcome single women, women with children and vulnerable families during their first months in Italy.

The building has been loaned to the Vatican by the Sisters Servants of Divine Providence of Catania.

The reception centre will be managed by the Community of Sant'Egidio, a Catholic charity that has facilitated the arrival of displaced people from Syria and the Horn of Africa since 2015.

Pope Francis recently urged a "human reception" for asylum seekers arriving in Europe.

Last month, he expressed his solidarity with the thousands of refugees left homeless by fires at Europe's largest migrant camp in Greece.

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