John XXIII's angel

2012-08-28 L’Osservatore Romano

Sr Primarosa was one of 800 Poverelle Sisters, the religious family whose members leave everything for the one treasure that counts –  Jesus, who has the face of so many of the needy who have no access to food, health care or dignity. A rare photograph of Sr Primarosa from the only video-interview granted to the website of Sotto il Monte Parish. However, life had in store for her a story different from that of the other Sisters.

Born on 28 February 1926 at Fiobbio in the Bergamo region, she died on 25 August 2012 in Torre Boldone, Bergamo, at the house of the Poverelle. At the age of 27, she was working with the future John XXIII and his young secretary, Fr Loris Capovilla, becoming a member first of the patriarchal and then of the papal household. Together with Capovilla she immediately followed the Pope, elected on 28 October 1958, to the Vatican. There, with two other Sisters, she saw to work in the kitchen and looked after the Pope's wardrobe and his sacred vestments, as well as carrying out small secretarial tasks.

She was a discreet and hard-working presence in the papal apartment, who always sought concealment. Yes, she was one of the angels of John XXIII and later of Capovilla and shared with them decades of daily life, consisting of work and prayer, in the great history of our time.

Marco Roncalli