Women who influenced Popes
Fr. Jordi Rivero

The most powerful influence over the popes is the hidden power of prayer. Also many women were sent by God to give popes important advise and messages. Countless others have inspired the popes by their great holiness, as testified by the writings of many popes, specially John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Mary, mother of God. The most powerful person to influence the popes is the Blessed Virgin Mary. While all the baptized are children of Mary, the pope is in a special way her son due to the fact that he is the Vicar of her Son on earth. The Popes constantly ask for Mary´s guidance. She is the Queen of the Apostles and Mother of the Church.

In addition to those mentioned in the article below, I think also of:

Bernardette Soubirous to whom our Lady appeared at Lourdes. Feb 11 is her liturgical day, declared day of the sick by the Church. On that day the pope joins in praying for the sick. Several popes have gone to the site of the apparition.

Blessed Elena Guerra who asked Leo XIII to prepare the Church for the new century by praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Sister Pascalina Lehnert (1894-1983). Was the personal confidant and secretary to Pope Pius XII for 40 years. In 1918, when he (Eugenio Pacelli) was new Papal Nuncio in Germany, he received the young sister Pascalina in Munich as his housekeeper. Pacelli was impressed by her virtues and they became close friends. She was full of zeal, wise and honest. Her assistance was of great value to him during the delicate negotiations on the Concordat with Bavaria and Prussia. He had to leave her behind when he was appointed Cardinal Secretary of State in 1929 and moved to Vatican City - where women are forbidden to live. But soon he brings her to work in his household at the Vatican -the first woman ever to do so. Her position of power and influence with Pacelli is met by many with intrigues and resentment and she suffers much. The same year Pacelli is elected pope World War II begins. The Pope relies heavily on Sister Pascalina in his effort to help the victims of the war. She becomes the head of the private papal charity and helps thousands. She remained at the pope's side as his most important confidante advisor and friend  until his death in 1958. She became known as "the most powerful woman in the history of the Vatican." Her life is featured in the DVD God's Mighty Servant

Blessed Jacinta of Fatima. On the day of her beatification, May 13, 2000, John Paul II, from the place of the apparitions, publicly thanked Jacinta for having offered her life for him. The messages from the Blessed Mother that she faithfully transmitted and her witness had a profound influence on the pope.

The following article continues the story.

Mary Magdalen and Peter: Pattern for the Ages
Taylor Marshall, source cantuar.blogspot.com

Pope Pius XI, the Holy Father who first received Lucia's Fatima message, once lamented: "Well, I'm the Vicar of Christ. I somehow thought that if Christ wanted me to know something, He would simply tell me."

As we listen to the Gospel readings for Easter, we realize that this is not necessarily the case. Rather, Christ did not initially manifest His resurrected glory to Peter the first Pope. Christ instead chose the lowly, penitent, and the devoted woman of Divine Mercy, Mary Magdalene, to be His emissary to the first Pope. Christ showed Himself to Mary Magdalene whom He then instructed, to "Go and tell Peter."

We find here at the summit of salvation history, the pattern by which Christ shall rule - through Peter but guided by the voices of little women. The question, then, is, "Will Peter listen?" Will he listen to the humble women and run out to find the glorified Christ?

  • Think of St Catherine of Sienna who told the Pope to leave Avignon, France and return to the rightful Rome. The Pope obeyed the little nun.
  • Recall the Augustinian nun Juliana of Liège through whom Christ asked the Pope to institute the feast of Corpus Christi.
  • Think of St Margaret Mary Alacoque through Whom the Pope approved and spread devotion to to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
  • Think of Saint Catherine Labouré who received the vision of the Miraculous Medal in 1830, which then lead to the popularization of the Immaculate Conception and to dogmatization of this teaching by Pius IX.
  • We can remember Saint Faustina and her appeals that Divine Mercy be recognized by the universal Church - that even a papally sanctioned feast of Divine Mercy be established on the Sunday after Easter.
  • Recall little Lucia of Fatima who for decades unsuccessfully asked the Holy Fathers and the bishops to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart.

Again and again, we find the pattern set down by Christ and Mary Magdalene. A lowly woman comes to Peter and says something nearly unbelievable: "We have seen the Lord...He says..." 

I can't help but wonder, and this is pure speculation, that at the end of time, Christ will again chose some lowly woman with one final request to the world's last Pope. It seems fitting that it should end that way. That when all seems lost and the Church suffers so terribly, that then the mysterious drama of Easter morning might be somehow reenacted before Christ returns to judge the living and the dead. A lowly woman might bring glad tidings to Peter one last time.

St Mary Magdalene and St Peter, pray for us!


Taylor Marshall


Love Crucified