Wire reports have characterized Stampa solely as "the housekeeper." But given the Pope’s reliance on her as his all-access confidante, the better analogy is to see Stampa as Karen Hughes to Benedict’s President Bush. While she has served as Ratzinger’s domestic–a role which she took up on the death of his sister and trusted counsel, Maria–she was never just a cook and clerk for Ratzinger. On the contrary, Stampa—a former professor at the conservatory of Hamburg who speaks at least three languages and has an advanced degree in ancient music–ghostwrites and translates for him. She will now serve Benedict XVI as the first member of the papacy's inner circle, just as John Paul II's secretary of four decades, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, did for the late pontiff. More likely than not, she will function as the pope's eyes and ears in those places he can't directly go, and provide priceless "backdoor" access to Benedict XVI to people who would normally be hindered by the Vatican bureaucracy.Needless to say, it'll only be a matter of time before comparisons will be drawn between Ingrid and Pius XII's assistant Sr. Pasqualina Lehnert.
(Sr Pasqualina was tremendously unpopular and as soon as Pius XII died she found herself homeless and without a protector. I think she finsished her days living at the North American College and is buried in the courtyard of the Teutonic College - the so-called 'Campo Santo Teutonico', a German cemetary located inside the Vatican.)