Until 2005, under John Paul II, the papal apartment was run by Polish nuns. The memores aren't nuns, do not wear religious garments, are laypeople and live in the world. But this isn't the first time that lay housekeepers are allowed inside the papal apartment. In 1922, upon his election, Pope Pius XI demanded that his housekeeper follow him inside the Vatican. When he was told this might seem inappropriate and had no precedent, Pius cut it short: "I'll be the first one then," he was said to have responded. (See more international news in Global Spin.)
Also part of Benedict's pontifical family is his aide Paolo Gabriele, who waits at the table and helps the Pope during trips and public events.
A typical "Benedictine" day:
The Pope's day begins at 7 a.m. with Mass; one hour later breakfast is served. At 9 a.m. the Pope goes into his private study, the one where he recites the Angelus prayer every Sunday, speaking from the window overlooking St. Peter's Square. He does his work in the study, where another consecrated laywoman, Birgit, helps him in her role as secretary and typist — she can read Benedict's tiny handwriting better than anyone else. (See pictures of the Path of Pope Benedict XVI)
Following Birgit in the study is Gänswein, the Pope's secretary, to discuss the day's agenda. Typically, the Pontiff works until 11 a.m., when audiences, or meetings, begin. At 1:15 p.m. lunch is served, with the secretaries and the memores sitting at the table with Benedict.
After a brief stroll in the roof garden, the Pope rests, to return to his private study at 4 p.m. He says the rosary and then resumes his work. After a prayer, dinner is served at 7:30 p.m., in time to watch the 8 p.m. newscast on RAI, the Italian state broadcaster. An hour later, the Pope says good night and retires, though he works some more before going to sleep.