A bridge to the home country
Mrs. Ruth Metzler-Arnold, former Federal Councilor, talks about her first impressions as President of the Board of Trustees of the Pontifical Swiss Guard and about the many tasks ahead.
On 1 July 2018 I was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the Swiss Pontifical Guard in the Vatican and assumed the chairmanship. Since then, only a few weeks have passed and I experience new things every day and discover the unknown. I am already very impressed:
Impressed by the discipline, competence and dedication of the Guards and their superiors, who perform a very demanding task in the service of the Holy Father;
Impressed by the work of the Foundation over the past 18 years under the leadership of my two predecessors, former Federal Councilor Flavio Cotti and former Federal Councilor Pascal Couchepin, and the members of the Board of Trustees, who have committed themselves free of charge to the work of the Foundation, in terms of time and deeds;
But above all I am impressed and grateful by the numerous small and large benefactors providing the foundation with the financial means to support the papal Swiss Guard in many ways.
In many ways, the Foundation serves as an important bridge between the guard in the Vatican and their homeland. The administration of the Vatican State is largely responsible for the costs of the Guard. However, the remuneration framework lies within the bandwidths of the Italian labor market. The Guards and their leaders are temporarily in the service of the Holy Father. They, as well as their families, will return to Switzerland. Their children must therefore be given the opportunity to attend an international school that will make it easier for them to later join the Swiss education system. After their return, the fathers will have to continue their retirement provisions in Switzerland and are dependent on an appropriate bridging of any possible contribution gaps. Another field arises from the training and continuing education requirements. The vigilance and protective duties at the Vatican require good knowledge of the Italian language, the formal and informal manners of the Holy See, and knowledge of historical and cultural contexts. The Guard must be given the opportunity to acquire these qualities. The foundation should be able to create the necessary financial conditions.
Today, I am only at the beginning of my mission and am looking forward to discovering a new world for myself.