I am an Australian girl who via the hand of God, moved to Rome, converted to Catholicism, found a job in the Vatican, married one of the Pope's Swiss Guards and moved into Vatican City. My story is a great love story. Below you'll find a selection of interviews, stories and blog posts either written by me or about me.
Love travel pray! Joanne
As published on the TravelAngel Blog, 6 August 2018
Snow in Rome, on any stifling August evening, would indeed be a miracle. One of the oldest devotions to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is to Our Lady of the Snows. Legend has it that in 352 A.D. the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream to both Pope Liberius and a patrician named John. He and his wife were a childless, wealthy Roman couple who wanted to donate their fortune to the church and prayed for guidance.
As published by the National Catholic Register, 6 June 2018.
To commemorate the 160th anniversary of the first Marian Apparition to Saint Bernadette the Commander of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, Colonel Christoph Graf led a contingent of 19 guards (including the Swiss Guard Chaplain) to Lourdes for the 60th Annual International Military Pilgrimage in May.
As published by the National Catholic Register, 14 May 2018.
On May 6 I watched as all the recruits who had joined the Guard in the previous 12 months dressed up in their full gala uniform, body armor and helmet, and made their oath to protect the pope unto death if necessary. It is a deeply moving military ceremony that leaves a lasting impression, particularly if you know they have been making the same oath since 1506, when Pope Julius II called the first loyal and fearsome Swiss Guards to Rome. For an Australian it is a little overwhelming being surrounded by all the pomp and tradition of 500 years of the Swiss Guard.
As published by French weekly magazine La Vie, 10 January 2017.
Ex-employée de L’Osservatore Romano, ancienne secrétaire du commandant de la Garde suisse pontificale, Joanne Bergamin a épousé le caporal qui la saluait chaque matin porte Sainte-Anne. L’Australienne vit désormais dans la caserne des soldats du pape, avec ses privilèges et ses contraintes. Sur l'application de photos Instagram, elle emprunte le pseudonyme « swissguardwife » (« épouse de garde suisse »), et partage son quotidien. Blonde platine à la taille de guêpe, elle fait son jogging de bon matin dans les Jardins pontificaux déserts, examine sa manucure, applaudit un concert nocturne de la fanfare des hallebardiers, ou teste les tapis de course de la caserne.
As published by the US Edition of Marie Claire, December 2016.
Why would a nonreligious PR maven and fashion lover from Australia choose to live behind the walls of Vatican City, where she has to make a home in communal barracks - and even follow a dress code? Joanne Bergamin shares her very old-fashioned love story with Abby Haglage.
As published in The Catholic Leader, 15 January 2015.
IF marrying a Swiss Guard is your preference, take advice from Australian Catholic woman Joanne Bergamin. The Vatican Papal Blessings staff member married Swiss Guard Corporal Dominic Bergamin on November 1 last year, All Saints’ Day, after a whirlwind romance inside the Vatican walls. The newlyweds shared their story at Faith on Tap at the Pineapple Hotel in Brisbane on January 12.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 28 April 2010.
Australians and New Zealanders in Rome came together to celebrate one of their most important national occasions, ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day, on Sunday, 25 April. These soldiers are known as the ANZACs. The ANZAC spirit signifies courage, mateship and sacrifice.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 21 April 2010.
Pope Benedict XVI was visibly delighted by the rousing welcome upon his arrival, and by the affection and support shown to him during his Pauline pilgrimage to Malta. The Maltese love for the Pope was evident even before he arrived at Malta International Airport. From the skies above, Vatican flags could be seen covering the landscape.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 7 April 2010.
La Memoria e la Speranza, "Memory and Hope" is the aptly named Vatican Museums' special exhibition of liturgical items and art which were salvaged after the earthquake that struck the Abruzzo region one year ago, 6 April 2009.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 31 March 2010.
More than 100 young Catholics piled into the Nag's Head Pub in Rome on Tuesday evening, 23 March, for the inaugural monthly Theology on Tap Rome event. Many local Pontifical University students came to hear Rome-based art historian, Elizabeth Lev, speak about the spirituality of Caravaggio.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 3 March 2010.
After only two weeks, this Lent has already been a Season of conversion, witness and penitence for many Catholics, just like in years and centuries past for millions of other Catholics. For many in Rome, visiting the daily 'Station' Churches for Mass is an integral partof the Lenten journey. This is the second year I have taken part in this tradition, and the journey this year is so different from the last.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 7 October 2009.
Sunday's Papal Mass made the relationship between Liturgy and life ever more evident. The Holy Father presided over the Eucharistic celebration which consisted of the traditional Latin rite interspersed with liturgical song from distant African lands. People were brought to their feet by the joyful strains of the Congolese choir throughout the Holy Mass...
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 23 September 2009.
On 30 August at the 2009 Walsingham Prayer Festival, Mexican singer, actor, film producer, international speaker and much recognized pro-life advocate Eduardo Verástegui spoke to more than 1,200 British teenagers on the theme of "The Call to Holiness". After the festival, devout Catholic Verástegui graciously took the time to speak to Joanne Ford from L'Osservatore Romano on his grand conversion and his views on life which continue to inspire and enlighten.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 26 August 2009.
“Are you a Catholic soccer player or a soccer-playing Catholic?”, asks the website of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC) in reference to the 2010 Soccer World Cup. In fact, in South Africa, as in many parts of the world, football is akin to religion. Indeed, for the South African clergy hoping to utilize this opportunity for evangelization on a grand scale, it is “time to get on the ball”.
As published in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 22 April 2009.
A delegation of dignitaries from the U.S. state of New Mexico was invited to Rome in keeping with the traditional ceremony of illuminating the Colosseum whenever a death sentence is commuted or a government repeals the death penalty somewhere in the world. This time, New Mexico “is going to be honoured with the lighting of the Colosseum. And it's a great feeling of pride... because my state has done the right thing in repealing the death penalty”, Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson said.