Mother Tekla Famiglietti
Mother Maria Tekla Famiglietti, O.Ss.S. (born 1938), is the Abbess General of the Order of the Most Holy Savior, commonly called the Bridgettine Sisters, founded by the Saint Elizabeth Hesselblad, O.Ss.S, (the so-called Swedish branch of the Bridgettine Order).
Famiglietti grew up in a village near Naples, Italy. She joined the Bridgettine Sisters at age 14, then she won her father's permission and entered the House of St. Bridget in Rome at 15. She has been Superior General since 1981 and has built up the Order over three decades.
Famiglietti has encouraged wealthy and powerful benefactors of the Order, such as Fidel Castro, Ronald Reagan, casino operator José María Guardia and Francisco Franco. She oversees a number of hotels, guesthouses and restaurants in several countries, including Israel, India, Cuba, the United States and Italy.
Famiglietti is a traditionalist Catholic who expresses orthodox beliefs. In 2005 Pope John Paul II decided to establish a Peace Centre in Jerusalem and asked her to implement it. She had a close relationship with the Pope and was present at his death bed.
Controversy has arisen over the treatment of the Indian women who form a large percentage of the Order. Most houses of the Order support themselves by providing bread and breakfast hospitality to guests at standard industry rates. This became public in 2002 when six Indian Sisters from different houses of the Order in Italy fled to a Benedictine monastery, where they were given refuge by the abbot, who was subsequently deposed from office by the Holy See for this, a highly unusual act.
- Niels Christian Hvidt / Publications
- CNN.com - A pope's last request: 'Read me the Bible' - Apr 10, 2006
- Berry, Jason (March 5, 2013). "Mother Tekla: The Most Powerful Woman in Rome". Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.