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Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery becomes home for contemplative nuns

Pope Francis asks a community of Argentinian Benedictine nuns to take up residence in the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, where Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI lived for around 10 years after his resignation in 2013.

By Vatican News

The Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the heart of the Vatican Gardens that was the “home” of the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, for almost ten years, is to resume its original purpose.

Pope Francis has asked that it once again serve as the residence for contemplative orders “to support the Holy Father in his daily care for the whole Church, through the ministry of prayer, adoration, praise, and reparation: a praying presence in silence and solitude.”

A statement released by the Holy See Press Office on Monday, 13 November, said Pope Francis announced this decision in a handwritten letter dated 1 October of this year.

The Pope has summoned the Nuns of the Benedictine Order of the Abbey of Saint Scolastica in Victoria, Buenos Aires province (Diocese of San Isidro) in Argentina, “who have generously accepted the invitation” of the Pontiff, the statement said.

Residence of Pope Emeritus

In his brief “The Contemplative Life” of 25 March 1994, St. John Paul II canonically established a monastery of contemplative nuns in Vatican City, with the title of Mater Ecclesiae.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had expressed the desire to reside there after his historic resignation on 11 February 2013. He spent the last years of his life there, assisted by his collaborators and accompanying the Church in prayer until his death on 31 December 2022.

Home to six nuns from early January

The monastery, the statement continued, will now welcome six nuns who, according to the statutes, will form the Monastic Community and will begin living in the monastery in early January.

Pope Francis has also decided that the Governorate of the Vatican City State will be responsible for all matters concerning the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.

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