Maid to Order – Women in the Vatican?
The Pope is 85 years old and cannot live on his own.
He needs a small army to care for him. In addition to his recently dismissed butler, he has two private secretaries – both ordained priests – Georg Gaenswein, from Germany, and Alfred Xuereb, from Malta
“Four Italian consecrated women” – Carmela, Loredana, Cristina, and Rosella – are the “domestics” for Pope Benedict; they cook, shop, and clean, organize and run the papal apartments.
Carmela, Loredana, Cristina and Rosella, who are all consecrated women – Not Nuns – belonging to the Memores Domini community
Loredana is the queen of the kitchen; Carmela helps in the kitchen and also tidies the Pope’s impressive bedroom, etc. and looks after his vast wardrobe. No one knows how many pair of red Prada slippers fill his ample closet.
The sumptuous kitchen, which was renovated in 2005 with stunning onyx countertops and subtle gray shelves is Lor’s territory. She prepares the meals. She shops at the Vatican supermarket and chooses vegetables from the garden of Castel Gandolfo, a papal retreat in the hills south of Rome.
Cristina also handles the apartment’s chapel; the Pope, et. al, celebrate Mass every morning; she als0 pitches in with some secretarial work.
Finally, Rossella, the latest addition, handles the Pope’s archives and the tends to the rooms of Benedict’s two secretaries, Georg GÄnswein and Alfred Xuereb.
Until 2005, under John Paul II, the papal apartment was run by Polish nuns.
The Four Women are not nuns; (do not wear maid uniforms or religious garments) they are laypeople and live in the world.
But this isn’t the first time that lay female housekeepers are allowed inside the papal apartment.
In 1922, Pope Pius XI demanded that his housekeeper follow him inside the Vatican. When he was told this might seem inappropriate and had no precedent, Pius cut it short: “I’ll be the first one then.”