Generous, selfless and reserved. A man dedicated to his family and others, a life in the ward first in the intensive care unit of the Gemelli then in the Vatican. He was on the medical team alongside John Paul II and Benedict XVI and, then, personal assistant to Francis.
"He saved my life," Bergoglio said after the colon surgery. For him, Massimiliano Strappetti is not just an assistant, but a person to rely on, the "guardian angel" whose advice he can listen to. Last August, he appointed him "personal health assistant," a role that had never been assigned in the history of a pontificate. Nurse coordinator of the Directorate of Health and Hygiene of the Papal States, Strappetti has been full-time at Santa Marta next to the Pontiff for almost a year, to assist him in daily care and therapy. Bergoglio will in fact turn 87 on December 17 and for some time he has had to keep under control the pain in his knee - which often forces him to a wheelchair or a cane - but also the ailments that many elderly people have at his age.
Added to this is the respiratory infection that last March, precisely in conjunction with Easter, forced him to a few days of hospitalization always in the papal room on the tenth floor of the Gemelli Polyclinic. Strappetti is highly appreciated in the Vatican for his professionalism, his confidentiality and dedication to the least. In fact, he collaborates with the Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, to alleviate the suffering of the many homeless people who circulate in the Vatican area.
He came to work alongside the Pope after a professional career that had seen him take his first steps at the Gemelli hospital in Rome, even in the delicate resuscitation department. Fifty-four years old, very reserved, little transpires of his private life. On Facebook the only images posted are those next to his partner and children, a couple of photos of his favorite team, Lazio, but no mention of his work, except for some quotes from Pope Wojtyla. The last one is from May 4 when he writes: "To do harm one sometimes feels pleasure, but pleasure passes immediately and evil remains. Doing good costs effort; but the effort passes immediately and the good remains; and with goodness remain peace of conscience and the pride of victory!" Strappetti, for the Pope, also represents that category of health care workers who are closest to patients, nurses. They are the ones who have the most relationship with the patient and that is why Francis, especially after the Covid pandemic, often mentions and praises them.