“It could have been anybody else,” says the Goan Nun Sr. Lucy humbly. Sitting inside the archives section of the Vatican for seven hours every day, Sr. Lucy opens loads of mail that Pope Francis receives. She is the only Indian among 300-odd staff rendering this service at the Papal Secretariat. Her job is to see that details of all letters are fed into the system.
Born and brought up in the Village of Cuncolim in South Goa, Sr. Lucy Britto has been doing this for 13 years, spanning 3 Pontiffs. Now 69, she has served Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II. According to an earlier report by Vatican Radio, Pope Francis gets a few thousand letters a week from across the world. “There is no time to interact with others as work is pouring in,” she tells TOI from Vatican City.
“Nothing is thrown out. Every letter received is treated with secrecy and respect for the sender. Even little children write in and send drawings of the Pope with his skullcap,” she says.
The letters include greetings, letters of appreciation, requests for prayers and even help to sort out family disputes, she says.
Her qualifications and experience stood in good stead. Not only a graduate in English literature, political science and psychology, the Goan Nun went on to pursue a masters degree in French and an MPhil in the same subject from France. Before departing for Rome. She also served as Mother Superior at Prabhadevi’s Yuvathi Sharan hostel in Mumbai.
A majority of the Indian mail received by the Vatican comes from Kerala. To her surprise, there was even a letter in Konkani, her mother tongue. “It was from Mapusa”, (North Goa), she says. A majority of the letters come from Italy, Portugal, France and Spain, she added. Sr. Lucy is a Linguist. Besides, knowing her own languages of Konkani, Hindi and Marathi, she has mastered French and is comfortable with Portuguese and Spanish too. She is also able to decipher text in Polish and German which she picked up on the job.
Sr Lucy visits her family in Mumbai and Goa every three years. “Goa is my own land and it’s only natural that I have so much nostalgia for it”, she signs off.
Picture Credit: www.mid-day.com
Information credit: ToI