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Benedict XVI prays before her coffin

· Pontifical Family mourns the death of Manuela Camagni ·

Manuela Camagni died from head injuries on Wednesday morning, 24 November, after being hit by a car while crossing a street in Rome. She was one of the four consecrated women who look after the Holy Father and the Pontifical Household. The Pope was one of those who inserted a notice expressing his sorrow in “L’Osservatore Romano”. Following her death he celebrated a Mass of suffrage with the Papal Family in his Private Chapel, and on Friday afternoon, 26 November, kneeling before her coffin in the Church of Santo Stefano degli Abissini at the Vatican, he prayed in silence for the repose of her soul. He then greeted her relatives. Manuela Camagni was born on 16 August 1954 in San Piero Bagno, Romagna, Italy. She worked for many years in scholastic institutions before entering the community of “Memores Domini” in 1980. This is a movement within the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation for priests and religious and consecrated lay men and women committed to lifelong celibacy. in 1980. Manuela joined the service of the Pontifical Household in May 2005, a month after Benedict XVI ’s election. Manuela's funeral, in the parish church of her birthplace, was celebrated on Monday, 29 November, by Archbishop Benito Cocchi of Modena-Nonanto. The following is a translation of the Holy Father's Message for this occasion, which was read at the beginning of the Funeral Mass by Mons. George Gänswein, his Private Secretary. Many clerics were present, including 40 priests; among them was Fr Julián Carrón, President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation. The following is a translation of the Pope’s Message, which was written in Italian and published on Wednesday, 1 December.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I would gladly have presided at the Funeral of beloved Manuela Camagni but — as you can imagine — it proved impossible. Yet communion in Christ enables us Christians to have a real spiritual closeness in which we share in prayer and in the affection of the soul. In this deep bond I greet you all, and in a special way the relatives of Manuela, the Bishops present, the priests, the Memores Domini and the friends.

I would like here to offer very briefly my testimony on our Sister who has departed for Heaven. Many of you had known Manuela for years. I have been able to benefit from her presence and her service in the Papal Apartments in the past five years in a family dimension.

For this reason I would like to thank the Lord for the gift of Manuela’s life, for her faith and for her generous response to her vocation.

Divine Providence led her to a discreet but invaluable service in the Pope’s house. She was happy with it and participated joyfully in family moments: in Holy Mass in the morning, in Vespers, in the meals shared and in the various and important events of the house.

The separation from her, so sudden, and the way in which she was taken from us have caused us deep sorrow, which faith alone can console. I find great support in thinking of the words that form the name of her community: Memores Domini.

In meditating on these words, on their meaning, I find a sense of peace, because they recall a profound relationship that is stronger than death. Memores Domini means “those who remember the Lord”, namely, people who live in remembrance of God and of Jesus, and in this daily remembrance, full of faith and love, find the meaning of all things, of small actions and likewise of important decisions, of work, of study, of brotherhood.

Remembrance of the Lord fills the heart with deep joy as an ancient hymn of the Church says: “Iesu dulcis memoria, dans vera cordia gaudia” (Sweet memory of Jesus that gives true heartfelt joy).

So for this reason the thought that Manuela is a Memor Domini, a person who lives in remembrance of the Lord, brings me peace. This relationship with him is deeper than the abyss of death. It is a bond that nothing and no one can break, as St Paul says: “[Nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:39).

Yes, if we remember the Lord, it is because he first remembers us with the love of a Parent, of a Brother, of a Friend, also at the moment of our death.

Although it can at times seem that he is absent at that moment, that he has forgotten us, in reality we are ever present to him, we are in his Heart.

Wherever we fall, we fall into his hands. Precisely where no one can accompany us, God, our Life, waits for us.

Dear brothers and sisters, in this faith full of hope that is the faith of Mary beside the Cross of Jesus I celebrated a Holy Mass of suffrage for Manuela on the very morning of her death.

And as I accompany with prayer the Christian rite of her burial, I impart my Blessing with affection to her relatives, to her Sisters and to all of you.

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