Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus is to spend his 91st birthday in “quiet and peace,’’ the Vatican’s official news site said on Monday.
Benedict was due to have a little celebration in the Vatican monastery where he has retired, with his 94-year-old brother Georg Ratzinger, his Secretary Archbishop Georg Gaenswein said.
Born Joseph Ratzinger in Bavaria, Southern Germany, Benedict became in 2013 the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, citing the strains of old age.
Since then, he has lived a life of prayer inside the Vatican gardens and rarely ventured out, staying true to a promise to remain “hidden to the world.”
In February, he said in a letter to Italian daily Corriere della Sera, that he was preparing to meet his maker: “As my physical strength slowly fades, I am on an interior pilgrimage towards home.”