Susanna Maiolo

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Susanna Maiolo (born 1984) is a woman with Italian and Swiss citizenship who rushed towards Pope Benedict XVI twice, most recently at Christmas Eve Midnight Mass, 24 December 2009, inside St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. She knocked the Pope and French cardinal Roger Etchegaray to the ground, and broke the cardinal's leg and hip. Maiolo's previous attack in December 2008 was intercepted successfully by the Pope's bodyguards.

Maiolo was born in Frauenfeld, Switzerland. Authorities said that Maiolo is mentally unwell and she was held for a week's evaluation at a psychiatric hostel in Subiaco near Rome.[1][2] It was reported that she did not want to injure the Pope, and the Pope has forgiven her.[3][4][5]


Maiolo told the Subiaco clinic staff that she did not want to injure the Pope but wanted to ask him to help the poorest people in the world.[4] The Pope's personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, visited her at the clinic on 1 January 2010. He expressed the Pope's concern for her and said the Pope believed in her good intentions and had pardoned her.[6] The Vatican public prosecutor Nicola Picardi and spokesman Federico Lombardi said that she would probably be released.[4]

Maiolo and two of her family had a brief private audience with Pope Benedict after the morning general audience on 13 January 2010 in a room adjoining the Paul VI Audience Hall. Maiolo told the Pope she regretted the incident. He forgave her and expressed his best wishes for her and her health. This mirrored the action of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who forgave the Turkish Grey Wolves member, Mehmet Ali Ağca, in a Roman prison in 1983. Agca had tried to kill John Paul II in May 1981.

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