Two Sisters of the Good Samaritan had a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican last week while attending a worldwide gathering of Benedictine sisters and nuns in Rome. Source: The Good Oil.
Congregational Leader Sr Patty Fawkner said it was a “privilege” to hear and meet the Pope in person, first as part of the broader group of women gathered for the Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum (CIB) Symposium, and later, individually.
“Francis was a little late and he indicated by his body language that he was sorry but couldn’t do much about it! He was not as tall as I had expected, but certainly as warm as I had anticipated,” said Sr Patty.
“I felt for him, because he is 81 and had a series of other private audiences to attend that day … He has some serious detractors who are trying to undermine him and his message. I just wanted to thank him for who he is for us and for his leadership, to encourage him in some way by my words and smile.
“I am so grateful to him for putting a human face on the Church and for his commitment to the Gospel, rather than any ecclesiastical trappings.”
When the time arrived for Sr Patty to greet Pope Francis she found herself a little lost for words, conscious that she needed to keep her message brief.
“I really didn’t know what to say, and then was surprised that the words that came out of my mouth echoed his words when he was elected Pope and said something about coming from the ends of the earth,” said Sr Patty.
“I said to him: ‘I have come from the ends of the earth, from Australia, to visit you’. He had a translator in his ear. Pope Francis said, ‘A long way’. I said, ‘Yes!’
“‘Thank you from my Sisters and God bless you’.”
Filipina Sr Grace Marcelo also found herself struggling to know what to say when it was her turn to greet the Pope.
“I asked him to pray for the people of the Philippines and to especially pray for a friend.
“Pope Francis really looked me in the eyes. It showed he was really listening and interested in what I was saying. That’s probably true for all who have encountered him.”