The Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City will return to the purpose for which John Paul II established it, a year after Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who lived in the convent, passed away.
Saint John Paul II canonically instituted in Vatican City a monastery for nuns of the contemplative life, titled “Mater Ecclesiae,” in 1994.
The monastery was to house nuns who would be dedicated to praying for the Church, and who would change every five years. The Poor Clares were the first group entrusted to the mission, followed by Carmelites, and then other orders.
Then, after the retirement of Benedict XVI, the grounds became his residence, as he devoted his last years to prayer for the Church. The mission of the monastery thus continued in a different way, as Benedict XVI was assisted by a small community of women belonging to the Memores Domini, part of the Communion and Liberation movement.
Now Pope Francis, with a handwritten letter of October 1, 2023, has established that another contemplative order take up residence, and, “support the Holy Father in his daily care for the entire Church, through the ministry of prayer, adoration, praise and reparation, as a prayerful presence in silence and solitude,” the Holy See announced.
The Pope has chosen the nuns of the Benedictine Order of the Abbey of Saint Scholastica of Victoria, province of Buenos Aires (Diocese of San Isidro) in Argentina, who generously accepted the Holy Father’s invitation.
The six nuns will commence their life in the Monastery in early January.
Pope Francis has also decided that the Governorate of Vatican City State shall be responsible for all matters regarding the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.