She can speak fluent French and Italian and does translation jobs at the Vatican Archives.
Sister Lucy Britto from Goa has the distinction of becoming the first Indian nun to have served at the Vatican during the pontificates of three popes.
The nun, who can speak fluent French and Italian, believes her linguistic skills helped her work with the Vatican Archives under Blessed John Paul II (1978-2005), Benedict XVI and Francis.
“I work in the Vatican Archives, where all documents and letters of the Pope are kept. We save the records and details on the computers. All documents and letters are treated with utmost secrecy and respect for the person who writes to the Pope,” explains Sister Lucy.
She said she is placed in the archives because “probably in the archives they need persons with knowledge of many languages, since the letters come from all over the world.”
Incidentally, Sister Lucy’s journey from Goa, considered the Rome of the East, to Rome has had interesting twists and turns along the way.Born in Veroda-Cuncolim, Sr Lucy along with her parents, two sisters and a brother shifted to Mumbai in the 1950s.
At 21, she joined the Sisters of Charity and after two years of training in Mangalore, she was sent to Hyderabad to complete her higher studies. There she graduated in English literature, political science and psychology and simultaneously, completed three years diploma in French.
“I started teaching French in St Francis degree and junior college run by us in 1976. After completing my MA in French in Hyderabad, I was a lecturer in the same college. Later in 1984, I was selected and deputed by the Government of India for further studies to France.”
For some years she was sent to Cuncolim, where she was principal of the Higher Secondary from 1994 to 2000. “I was also responsible for our community in Mumbai till 2003, before I moved to Rome,” said Sister Lucy.
Each of the three popes she worked for “is unique” according to her.
“Pope John Paul was a charismatic figure, while Benedict is a learned theologian and Pope Francis is a great pastor,” she said.
She recalled having worked with Pope John Paul II for only one year. “I participated in his funeral ceremony and the impact that his funeral created in me will remain forever.”
She said Pope Benedict XVI is “a great theologian and an excellent teacher and an intellectual force of the church.”
“Pope Francis is down to earth and his style is to associate with people. He met the Secretariat staff on April 12 and had thanked each one of us for the service rendered to the church and personally to him,” she said.
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- Pope Francis to 800 nuns: Don’t be ‘spinsters’ (oriooli.wordpress.com)