COMMENTARY: Decisions about his household say a lot about a prelate. For Pope Benedict, it is no different.
It was one last family walk in the garden.
Benedict XVI’s family accompanied him down the hill from the Mater Ecclesiae residence to St. Peter’s Basilica Jan.2, just as they had often walked with him in the same Vatican Gardens during his pontificate and in his retirement, often praying the Rosary in the afternoons.
Viewers may have wondered who the five women were who gathered around Benedict’s mortal remains in the chapel, and then followed him to the basilica. They were what Benedict called his “family.” His secretary, Birgit Wansin, notable for being one of the few people able to decipher Benedict’s tiny handwriting, and the four consecrated laywomen of Memores Domini, Cristina, Carmella, Loredana and Rosella.
The Memores Domini, members of Communion and Liberation, formed a household with Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict’s personal secretary during the papacy and afterwards.
The Memores Domini consecrated women were models of discretion. Never did they draw any attention to themselves. Indeed, when one of their number, Maneula Camagni, was hit by a car and killed in 2010, the grief of Benedict and the other members of the household was the first occasion many had even heard of them.
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