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El monasterio habitado por Benedicto XVI tras su retiro será reocupado por monjas

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Pope Francis has signed an order for the former monastery in the Vatican Gardens, where Pope Benedict XVI lived after his retirement, to be used once again to house a small community of contemplative nuns. The monastery, Mater Ecclesiae, was originally created by Pope John Paul II in 1994 for this purpose.

In January, a community of Benedictine nuns from Pope Francis’ native Buenos Aires will move into the monastery. The six sisters from the Abbey of St. Scholastica in Victoria will support the Pope’s ministry through their prayers and provide a presence of silence and solitude.

When Benedict XVI decided to retire in 2013, he secretly had the monastery rearranged so he and his papal family could move in. Benedict XVI passed away at the monastery on December 31, 2020. During the 10 years of Benedict’s retirement, the monastery became a symbol of the challenges of having two living popes in the Vatican and a center of conservative opposition to Pope Francis.

After Benedict’s death, Pope Francis instructed the secretary of the retired pope, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, to relocate to Germany. While there are no signs that Pope Francis plans to retire anytime soon, he has made it clear that if he does, he will not follow the example of living within the Vatican, but will instead reside elsewhere in Rome.

Pope Francis and the Vatican hope that the return of the nuns to Mater Ecclesiae will restore the original purpose of the monastery as a center of prayer and contemplation, and create a peaceful atmosphere away from the political and power struggles that have taken place there in recent years. This singular decision by Pope Francis underscores his commitment to spiritual ministry and creating a peaceful living environment within the Vatican.

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Photo credit apnews.com

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