Sister Vincenza Taffarel

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Sister Vincenza Taffarel[1][2] (died 1984) was the Catholic nun who found the body of Pope John Paul I.[3][4] She was brought in as his housekeeper in one of his very first papal acts,[5] and was the first to find him dead.[6][7][8] Sister Vincenza is portrayed by Maroussia Frank in The Last Confession, a play by Roger Crane.[9]


There have been several differing reports on details surrounding the discovery of the pope's death.[10] These views have resulted in several conspiracy theories in which Sister Vincenza plays a role. When the report of death was first made, the Vatican excluded her from the official reports to avoid possible perceptions of unseemliness[6] resulting from a woman's being in the papal apartments early in the morning.[4][11]

There has also been confusion over alleged changes in her story. Sister Vincenza told French reporters the morning after the death that she had discovered the Pope's body in the bathroom at 4:45 am.[citation needed] She had entered the room after he had not retrieved his morning coffee that she had left outside his door. Later, it was claimed, she was sworn to secrecy about the event by Cardinal Jean Villot, before being sent to a nunnery.[10]


  1. ^ Hofmann, Paul. The Vatican's women: female influence at the Holy See. St. Martins Press. p. 145. ISBN 0-312-27490-4.
  2. ^ "Many are called and few are chosen". Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  3. ^ Kennedy, Billy (2 October 1998). "Cornerstone: Pope 'died of natural causes'". The News Letter. Belfast, Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  4. ^ a b "Evidence of foul play in Pope death claimed". Chicago Tribune. 7 October 1978.
  5. ^ "Pope Had History of Minor Illness". The Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press and United Press International. 29 September 1978.
  6. ^ a b Gorner, Peter (17 June 1984). "The Death of A Pope: British author sparks controversy with theory of intrigue at Vatican". Chicago Tribune.
  7. ^ "Foul Play". Baltimore Afro-American. 10 October 1978. pp. 1–2.
  8. ^ Rocha, Luís Miguel (2008). The Last Pope. Google Books: Penguin. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  9. ^ "Post-mortem on the year of three popes". Church Times. 11 May 2007.
  10. ^ a b Reardon, Wendy. The Deaths of The Popes. McFarland. p. 248. ISBN 0-7864-1527-4.
  11. ^ "Bishop tells story of Pope John Paul I's death. He debunks conspiracy theory, but says Vatican altered some details". St. Louis Dispatch. Associated Press. 11 October 1998. p. D4.