The Pope Now Has a Personalised Space Suit with a Cape

Pope Francis in ordinary dress
Pope Francis in ordinary dress | © Aleteia Image Department / Flickr

Most often seen in a flowing white cassock and small, round skullcap known as a zucchetto, Pope Francis has just received a state-of-the-art addition to his wardrobe. The upgrade came courtesy of a group of astronauts from the International Space Station who have given His Holiness his very own custom-made blue flight suit, complete with a special papal cape embroidered with the flag of Vatican City.

The one-of-a-kind gift was presented to Pope Francis on June 8 by the Italian astronaut and engineer of the European Space Agency Paolo Nespoli and NASA commander Randolph Bresnik. The pair was joined at the Vatican by four other astronauts from Expedition 53, which ran from September to December 2017. The mission was tasked with studying cosmic ray particles, investigating treatments for muscle atrophy and analysing the abilities of a new drug to accelerate bone repair.

“Since the habit makes the monk, we thought we’d have a flight suit like ours made for you,” Nespoli told the pope, who quipped back, “And you will plan my trip!”

The suit features the crest of the Holy See, the Argentine flag and Pope Francis’ birth name, Jorge Bergoglio. As Nespoli explained, the suit is “really real”, fashioned from the same special material as the astronaut’s suits and made especially so the pope can fly into space, should he wish to do so.

The pope has a number of vestments depending on the occasion

This wasn’t the first time the astronauts had chatted with the 81-year-old pontiff. They had previously spoken last year via a satellite video call between the Vatican and the International Space Station, 400km (250 miles) above Earth.

The pope told the astronauts they were privileged to be able to see the planet “from the eyes of God” and asked them how their new perspective outside of the Earth’s atmosphere had enriched their lives.

Remembering that conversation from space, Bresnik, commander of Expedition 53, told the Catholic News Service that the whole crew was energized after talking to the Pope, regardless of their religion. Looking at Earth from space, Bresnik recalled, shows a world without borders. “It touches people in their soul, I think. I think nobody comes back without a sense of a higher being.”

The outfit is the latest in a long line of gifts given to the pope – he’s already received a classic motorbike and a brand new sports car.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article