Giuseppe Maria Sensi was born in Cosenza, Italy, in 1907, and ordained a priest in 1929. Following studies in the diplomatic school, he began to serve the Holy See as secretary of the nunciature in Romania, from 1934-38. He continued his ministry in the nunciatures of Switzerland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Paris (as a permanent observer to UNESCO).
On May 21, 1955, he was appointed nuncio in Costa Rica and consecrated bishop. He was sent as apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine on Jan. 12, 1957. He attended the Second Vatican Council while he was nuncio in Ireland, and was later appointed nuncio in Portugal.
Made a cardinal in May 1976, he participated in the two conclaves held in 1978, which elected John Paul I and John Paul II.
With his death, the College of Cardinals now numbers 179 members, including 132 electors who could vote for a new pope.