Latest update: The pope knelt and prayed in silence before Manuela’s casket on Friday during a service held in the church of St. Stephen of the Abyssinians in the Vatican.
The Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, said he was “visibly moved” and remained kneeling in silence for some time.
He sang briefly in very hushed tones, the paper said, and then greeted Manuel’s brother and other relatives who attended the service.
(Original post, Nov. 24):
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI is mourning the sudden and tragic death of one of the women who work in the papal household.
Manuela Camagni, 56, was walking with friends late Tuesday night when she was hit by a car. She died early this morning from severe brain injuries.
Manuela was a member of Memores Domini, an organization of men and women from Communion and Liberation who have made promises of poverty, chastity and obedience.
A group of four women from Memores Domini care for Pope Benedict’s apartment.
The pope expressed his sadness for the unexpected loss of such a close collaborator in a short notice printed in the obituary section of the Vatican newspaper. He prayed for the eternal rest of her soul during a Mass celebrated with the rest of the papal household this morning in his private chapel, said an accompanying article.
Manuela joined the pope’s staff soon after his election in 2005.
He has a very close relationship with his “papal family,” as he calls them in his recent book, “Light of the World.”
Members of the papal family eat their meals together and often relax in the evenings watching DVDs, he said in the book. They celebrate the holidays and feast days together, even exchanging gifts, and “there is above all Holy Mass in common in the morning,” the pope said.
“That is an especially important moment in which we are all with each other in a particularly intense way in the light of the Lord.”