Rome, Italy, Mar 5, 2013 / 16:01 pm
The man who is known around the world as “the Pope’s shoemaker” expressed sadness at the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI but also gratitude for the opportunity to serve the pontiff.
“I saw on television that he was wearing my shoes and I felt so proud,” recalled Antonio Arellano, who mended shoes for Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI when he was cardinal and also made special shoes for him during his pontificate.
In a March 4 interview with CNA, Arellano explained that among his vast clientele of cardinals, monsignors and religious, his most special client will always be Pope Benedict XVI.
Arellano was born in Trujillo, Peru, where the learned to be a cobbler. He moved to Rome in 1990 and opened a shoe repair shop near the Vatican.
Today, a pair of red shoes and a picture of Benedict XVI hang over the entrance to the shop, and the walls inside are covered with articles about “The Shoemaker of the Pope.”
Arellano recalled that he first met Benedict XVI and his personal secretary Archbishop Georg Ganswein years ago when the Pope-emeritus was still a cardinal. Benedict XVI was a simple, normal client, he said.
“He came in, very politely said good morning, sat down while I did my work, and afterwards said goodbye and thank you.”
On the day that Benedict XVI was elected Pope, Arellano said that he was at a nearby restaurant watching the events on television.