Life inside the pope's apartment

Life inside the pope's apartment April 19, 2011

The good people at TIME magazine have thoughtfully translated and posted a piece from the Italian daily La Stampa, which gives a glimpse inside Pope Benedict’s private world.


Pope Benedict XVI isn’t alone in his apartment at the Vatican. Four “guardian angels” help him, and recently there has been an addition to the personnel at his service.

For the past six years, the Pontiff’s Vatican apartment has been run by members of the Memores Domini, a lay association whose members practice obedience, poverty and chastity, and who live in a climate of silence and common prayer.(See pictures of Pope Benedict XVI visiting America.)

Loredana is the queen of the kitchen, which was renovated in 2005 with onyx countertops and gray shelves. She prepares meals on a big marble table for Benedict and any invited guests. Pasta dishes are her specialty, including pasta with salmon and zucchini, or rigatoni with prosciutto. She keeps in touch with the Vatican supermarket and chooses which vegetables to get from the garden of Castel Gandolfo, a papal retreat in the hills south of Rome.

Carmela helps in the kitchen, where she specializes in cakes the Pope has appreciated since his days as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. His favorites are strudel, tiramisu and tarts. Carmela also tidies the Pope’s bedroom and looks after his wardrobe.(See the top 10 religion stories.)

Cristina handles the apartment’s chapel, where the Pope celebrates Mass every morning, and pitches in with some secretarial work. Finally, Rossella, the latest addition, handles the Pope’s archives and the rooms of Benedict’s two secretaries, Georg Gänswein and Alfred Xuereb. A social worker in a small community in northern Italy, Rossella was transferred to the Vatican to replace a woman who died in November after being run over by a car in Rome. A former colleague in her community, Ornella Galvani, describes Rossella as “gentle and always ready to help people.”

Check out the rest. There are more details about how the pope spends his day, and who works with him.

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One response to “Life inside the pope's apartment”

  1. It was my great privilege in 2003 to meet the Pope in his apartment.

    It was so amazing: We walked through an arch (is there a more elegant term?) of bayonettes held aloft by Swiss Guards. Then, we waited for the President of the Philippines and his entourage to leave before being escorted through some small galleries where we saw the Throne of Constantine, scriptural tapestries created by Raphael, and other rarely viewed artworks. At last we were permitted to enter the Pope’s study, where JPII was seated and greeted each of us by name. I kissed his ring, and he blessed me.

    When we were there, they had just remodeled and we could smell the wet paint. The room still looks like that today, and I see it often in the news.

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