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His Humble Servant: Sister M. Pascalina Lehnert's Memoirs of Her Years of Service to Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII Paperback – 15 Jul 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: St. Augustine's Press (15 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587313677
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587313677
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,028,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Title: His Humble Servant( Sister M. Pascalina Lehnert's Memoirs of Her Years of Service to Eugenio Pacelli Pope Pius XII) <>Binding: Paperback <>Author: M.PascalinaLehnert <>Publisher: St.Augustine'sPress

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mary on 19 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book ,extremely poignant in parts ,Pope Pius never took any leisure ,every hour of his very long day was dedicated to the office he held ,there is mention of the supply chain he set up during the war ,he did amazing work ,his charity extended to all ,a good deal of the goods he sent out paid for from his private funds, he impressed the Rabbi of Rome so much ,he converted to Catholicism .a top German general visited him secretly and revealed Hitler's plans for him ,Hitler had wanted to remove him from Rome to Germany ,claiming he had a residence ready for him there ,his response was he would never go willingly ,he would die before he would leave his post .This book gives a very personal insight into a very remarkable man.
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A very interesting book - though a bit of a heavy read. So much nonsense has been written about the relationship between Pope Pius XII and Sister Pascalina Lehnert, his companion, housekeeper and advisor of nearly 40 years. But I feel this book is as near to the truth as we will ever get. There is a feeling that Pascalina may have been self-censoring a little in her non-political stance through-out the book. She is also overwhelmingly pleasant about everyone in the Roman Curia - when we know the reality was rather different. But her undying though very human love and admiration for Pope Pius XII is wonderful to read about and the descriptions of the endless watchfulness of the War years and the fears of Communism in the 1950s cold war period are extremely telling. Definately a book for followers of Pius XII.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Scholarly and factual. Everyone who believes they know Pope ... 17 Sept. 2014
By Jane - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Scholarly and factual. Everyone who believes they know Pope Pius XII needs to read this.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Review on book about Pope Pius XII 17 Mar. 2015
By Ronald Dominguez - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This review is a bit “conditional” because it depends a lot on where a reader is coming from. I am a Roman Catholic who knows very well the culture, beliefs and ethic of what life was like in the Roman Catholic Church back in the time of Pope Pius XII. As a result of this, I can read a book by Sister Lehnert and understand clearly and fully the culture and ethic she is talking about. For somebody like me, who understands this culture, the book is very informative, inspiring and enlightening.
If a person is NOT aware of all of this, I guarantee that the book will appear very strange and not at all realistic. Some readers may be totally lost and miss many of the meanings of what is discussed.
It is a lot like this: Let’s say you, as an individual, know a lot about cars. You may be able to read and write about all sorts of technical details and many complex workings and know immediately what it all means. It MAY and IS real and sensible but to somebody who does not know the workings and nature of cars and engines, they will be lost. The same is true with this book.
In a way, the book is “unworldly” in the sense that much of what Sister talks about is of a deep spiritual meaning that is very foreign to modern day sensibilities. It “may” be very real but it is something so deep that most modern readers may get confused with it.
For example, Sister reveals in the book that Pope Pius XII worked to massive excess. He slept only 4 hours a day, worked endlessly day and night with barely a break, ate almost nothing and rarely, if ever, did anything to “relax”. Modern understanding of this would make out that Pope Pius was either a workaholic to the max and was “sick”. But, understanding the spiritual nature of how Pope Pius viewed this, it was a very natural and sensible thing: For the Kingdom of God, it was highly desirable and for HIM necessary to concentrate his entire being on the work of God. He did this to the extreme peril of his health. When one understands the nature of the spirituality at work, it makes sense in a deep, theological sense. To one who is not aware of this understanding, it is sheer nuts.
So, to truly understand the real meaning of the life at hand there one must be able to understand the “world” in which it was a part. THAT was the world of Pope Pius and Sister and others and it was very real, sensible and noble. To get anything from the book one needs to accept the premise it revolved around. Doing this, one can learn a lot about what Pope Pius XII was like. If somebody makes the mistake of viewing his life and activities according to modern interpretation they will be sadly misunderstanding the best points of his life.
I found the book a “good read” in that it flows well, covers a lot and was translated from the original German decently.
Sister covers a lot of important details (including the reasons why Pope Pius acted as he did during the war) and gives a good explanation of what happened and how the pope responded and why.
One thing in the book DID get to be a bit irritating to me. Sister, in her enthusiastic desire to show that Pope Pius XII was deeply loved went to too many extremes in detailing many of the endless gatherings that Pope Pius presided over. While it is only natural that at such gatherings there will be enthusiast response to seeing or hearing a pope in person, her coverage of all this was excessive and a bit tiring to read and re-read over and over again. She made her point that he was enthusiastically received but she didn’t have to document endless examples like she did.
Overall, the book was interesting and I enjoyed it. You do learn a lot about what the popes’ life was like. The ONLY really irritating thing to me was that she mentioned absolutely nothing about the years from the end of World War II to his death in 1958. These were important years with loads of important details and events that people would want to know about but were not covered at all. This was irritating to me and I don’t know why she did that. It is a major failing of the book.

The book is an enthusiastic celebration and total admiration of Pope Pius XII from a trusted "insider". She reveals no faults or short comings which is a bit of a disappointment because to really understand even a great person, you need to see some of their faults. She details nothing like this and I think that leaves a bit of a too biased view. I'm not looking for dirt against Pope Pius but I would like to know some of his shortcomings that must have existed in his being. It would help to understand the total person but she revealed nothing. In spite of this, the book was very interesting.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Very Faithful Servant 30 Jan. 2015
By Louise G. - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a personal account of the very devoted and yes faithful personal assistant confidant of Pius XII. Sister Pascalina was there and is a good witness to history. No doubt he was her hero and never waivered in her devotion.
Discovering Unspoken Truths 4 July 2015
By Ann Lackey - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Discovering Unspoken Truths

This book received a very good rating, because it is a significant primary resource. I did not have it when I wrote my historic drama, THE GLORY OF THE OLIVE, the life and times of Eugenio Pacelli. Fortunately, I was able to glean some insights from LA POPESSA by Paul Murphy.

A caution to scholars and historians rely on a variety of sources. Delayed reading proved beneficial. Why? Madre attempted to gain Vatican approval and to restore Pius' reputation. In doing so, her telling comes across as sterile and lifeless, when quite the opposite was true. While some of the her views may lack accuracy, observations and interviews open revealing vistas. Also toward the end, time redeems her when she notes that Pius through his work with Tardini and Montini was literally the architect of Vatican II, a most invaluable and substantive historical fact.

For the reader, understand Sister/Madre Pascalina and her nurse/maternal role in Eugenio Pacelli's life. All his life health issues plagued him. Her care was essential.

"A Humble Servant..." does not describe her. We can surmise, however, that "A Humble Servant..." suggests Pascalina's daily struggle, her fervent prayer. Occasionally Madre's self-importance gets in the way of Pius' accomplishments. This strong, willful woman knew the power of her beauty, yet failed to comprehend the mysteries of the heart. She demonstrated common sense, intelligence, resourcefulness, and fearlessness. But as Elizabetta, Eugenio's sister noted, Pascalina had the insufferable habit of plopping herself where she wasn't welcome.

Sometimes that audacity served her well like fulfilling her tremendous charity
role during the War/German Occupation. Other times when she tried to go
beyond her role, she burdened Pius and strained their relationship. Eugenio
was a man who kept his counsel and his love to himself.

Pascalina was Pacelli's cross and his curative. He looked after her soul. She looked after his health and well-being. They made an unquestionably effective team.

Ann Lackey
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is the real story, unlike the movie. ... 1 Mar. 2015
By mmmom13 - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the real story, unlike the movie. I read this book because I didn't believe such a saint could have died the way they portrayed it in the movie. Sure enough. The movie was interesting, but highly fictionalized!
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