Italian nun becomes highest ranking woman in Vatican: All you need to know about Raffaella Petrini

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Pope Francis has taken another step towards gender equality — this time with the appointment of Franciscan sister Raffaella Petrini as the new secretary-general of the governorate, making her the first woman to ever hold the post.

The appointment of the 52-year-old nun, as AFP reports, is comparable to being deputy governor of a state or deputy mayor of a city. The Governatorate, based in a large palace in the middle of Vatican City, oversees more than 2,000 employees.

So, who exactly is Raffaella Petrini and is this selection by the 84-year-old a really big deal?

Raffaella Petrini

The Vatican News reports that Sister Raffaella Petrini, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, has been serving as an official at the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples since 2005.

The nun, who was born in Rome on 15 January 1969, holds a degree from LUISS — a prestigious business university.

She also holds a doctorate from the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum), where she is currently a professor.

Her new job has been traditionally handled by a bishop and what does this new position entail?

She will be in charge of overseeing administrative operations, including the Vatican museums, the post office, and the police.

Women in the Church

Pope Francis has repeatedly tried to elevate women and said that he wants them to play a bigger role in the Church.

In August, the Pope appointed another nun, Sister Alessandra Smerilli, as the interim Secretary of the Vatican's development office, which deals with justice and peace issues.

He named Nathalie Becquart, a French member of the Xaviere Missionary Sisters, as co-undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, a department that prepares major meetings of world bishops held every few years in February.

Also in February, he named Italian magistrate Catia Summaria as the first woman Promoter of Justice in the Vatican's Court of Appeals.

With inputs from agencies

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Italian nun becomes highest ranking woman in Vatican: All you need to know about Raffaella Petrini
Italian nun becomes highest ranking woman in Vatican: All you need to know about Raffaella Petrini
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