Member of 'papal family' dies, hit by car in Rome

A member of Pope Benedict XVI's private "papal family" died Wednesday after suffering head injuries when she was struck by a car as she crossed a street in Rome, the Vatican said.

Manuela Camagni, 56, was one of four consecrated women who tend to the pope and care for the papal household.

"Learning with sorrow of the news of Manuela's death, the pope prayed for her soul during Mass celebrated with the papal family in the private chapel" of the Apostolic Palace, Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said.

Benedict took out an obituary notice, citing his "sorrow for the sudden passing" of the woman and expressing spiritual closeness to her family. Other members of the Vatican, including the Swiss Guard, also took out notices in L'Osservatore Romano to send their condolences to her loved ones.

Camagni had been in the service of the pontifical household since May 2005, a month after Benedict's election.

In the book "Light of the World," released Tuesday, Benedict spoke about how important his "papal family" is to him, saying the women and his two private secretaries share meals together and watch DVDs — moments, he said, that were rare times of relaxation.

The pope said: "We celebrate Christmas together, listen to the holiday music and exchange gifts."

He said the group also celebrates feast days and daily Mass together — "an especially important moment in which we are all with each other in a particularly intense way."

The Vatican newspaper said the woman was hit by the car Tuesday evening and rushed to a Rome hospital where she underwent surgery.

The pope's two private secretaries and the three other consecrated women went to the hospital morgue following her death at dawn Wednesday, L'Osservatore Romano said.