View Of The Tombstone Which Seals The Final Resting Place Of Sister Pasqualina Lehnert, Inside The Campo Teutonico Cemetery, Within The Vatican City.
Sister Pascalina became a high profile nun after leaving the Vatican. Upper image...Along with Pope Puis XII's sister Marchesa Rossignani she attends the dedication ceremony of a statue of the late pontiff in Saint Peter's Basilica in 1964.
Lower image...Mother Pascalina arriving in Rome in 1963 by plane for the funeral of Pope John XXIII
Madre Pascalina wrote her autobiography in 1959. Church authorities permitted its publication only in 1982.. In some 200 pages she describes the human qualities and sense of humor of the late Pope, whom she served for 41 years. It includes numerous personal impressions on the personality of Eugenio Pacelli, historical events such the papal conclave of 1939, occurrences during World War II, the consistory of 1946, beatifications, the Holy Year 1950, and the illness and death of Pope Pius XII. Historically significant are the detailed descriptions of the personality of Pius XII, for whom she worked over forty years. Madre Pascalina also published several articles, in which she described the daily life and routine of the pontiff.
Madre Pascalina received in 1958 the Papal Order Pro Ecclesia and Pontifice from Pope John XXIII. In 1969 she received the Bundesverdienstkreuz from the Federal Republic of Germany and in 1980 the Bavarian Order of Merit. In 1981, the Austrian President awarded her the Goldenes Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich.
During her lifetime, the influential Madre Pascalina was not without adversaries in the male dominated Vatican, which gave rise to much gossip and stories. Her communication style was clear, determined, more Prussian than Austrian, not always soft or diplomatic like the normal communication of the Holy See was. Madre Pascalina died in 1983. She is buried at the Vatican Camposanto (cemetery). Several bishops and cardinals, among them Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, himself a Bavarian too, attended her funeral.
"Madre Pascalina", as she was called, led the Pacelli household in the nunciature in Munich, Bavaria from 1917 to 1925 and in Berlin from 1925 to 1929, where Nuncio Pacelli was Dean of the Diplomatic Corps. There she became known for organizing the Pacelli parties, "which were auspicious, tastefully sprinkling glitter with the strictest European etiquette…. The nunciature was soon a major center of Germany's social and official worlds. Streams of aristocrats, including President Paul von Hindenburg (one of Germany's Field Marshals during World War I), were frequent callers, blending with students and workers, anyone whom Pacelli, the shrewdest of diplomats, chose to smile upon". Pacelli was recalled to Rome in 1929 to become Cardinal Secretary of State. Madre Pascalina soon resided as housekeeper with two other sisters in the Vatican and were the only women inside the Papal conclave, which on March 2, elected Pacelli to become the successor of Pope Pius XI.
Undocumented Roman stories called her Virgo Potens, powerful virgin; Romans described the "power" of the first women in the Vatican in colorful ways at the time. Few stories are documented. Many anecdotes about the Pope are in the below-mentioned autobiography of Madre Pascalina, which is actually a biography of Pius XII.
the Signature of Pius XII never chganged.
News, Stories, & Articles
# Hardcover: 325 pages
# Publisher: Warner Books (May 1983)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0446512583
# ISBN-13: 978-0446512589
Perhaps the most notable book or source of information on Pascalina Lehnert (Madre Pascalina, AKA La Popessa) is Paul I. Murphy and R. Rene Arlington's 1983 book entitled "La Popessa". The book claims to be an "as told to" authoritative accounting of the life of Pascalina, but is much more the story of Pope Pius XII. Although the book is out of print, it is fairly easy to obtain a copy on eBay or Amazon.com
Review of La Popessa, the book, on Amazon.com by Allen M. Dion
click for full-size readable picture
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