I have written often about the feminine vocation to prayer--especially our call to pray for priests. It is a priviledged dimension of our motherhood to support others through prayer and sacrifice, and to this end we should consider participating in this apostolate. (If it doesn't already exist in your diocese, perhaps you are called to create it.)
That said, the Holy Father has benefited by prayers of these fine women, one of whom recently spoke* of her vocation:
One of the seven cloistered nuns who until last October lived in the Mater Ecclesiae ("Mother of the Church") convent in the Vatican gardens, where Pope Benedict will live after his two months at Castel Gandolfo, has given an interesting interview to Vatican Radio.
The nuns were all Spanish except for one Italian, Sister Maria Francesca. This is what she had to say about living in the Vatican Gardens:
"E’ stata un’esperienza unica, ed è un’esperienza di quelle per cui uno comincia a misurare la vita da 'prima' di questo e 'dopo' questo. Quello che l’ha caratterizzata è stata essenzialmente la presenza del Santo Padre, cioè questa vita data e offerta per lui con una vicinanza, tra l’altro, fisica: la posizione del monastero è dentro i Giardini Vaticani. Proprio questa vicinanza implicava dei contatti con il Santo Padre ed il primo, il più importante in assoluto, è quello della preghiera. Noi eravamo lì essenzialmente per lui, per la Chiesa, per i suoi collaboratori della Curia. Tutte le mattine, aprendo le finestre della nostra casa, vedevamo il Palazzo Apostolico ed era un modo per mandare la preghiera quasi 'fisicamente' verso di lui." ("It was a unique experience, one of those experiences that one measures one's life by, 'before' and 'after' the experience. What characterized it was essentially the presence of the Holy Father, that is, this life given and offered for him with a nearness which was, among other things, physical: the position of the convent is inside the Vatican Gardens. Precisely this nearness implied contacts with the Holy Father, and the first, the most important of all, was that of prayer. We were there essentially for him, for the Church, for his co-workers of the Curia. Every morning, opening the windows of our house, we saw the Apostolic Palace and it was a way to send our prayer 'physically' toward him.')
She said she met the Pope only two times, once on December 14, 2010, on the 400th anniversary of her order's founding, and on October 14, 2012, a week before leaving the Vatican. On that last occasion, they met the Pope in his apartment.
What struck her, she said, was his very great capacity to be "present" and "open" to each person in front of him.
Asked what message she would like to communicate to the Pope, she said: "We love him very much. We loved him very much, and we love him very much." ("Lo amiamo tanto. Lo abbiamo amato tanto e lo amiamo tanto.")
God bless these dear women, and I know the next pope will have their continued support and affection.
* from Robert Moynihans newsletter #13