No, the Pope didn’t punch anyone, especially not a nun. But a man who had hated the Catholic Church but later was cared for in the hospital by nuns became a great defender of the sisters and did throw a punch at their critic.
Pope Francis recalls the story in the forward to a new biography of Father Etienne Pernet, founder of the Little Sisters of the Assumption, the order of the punch-defended nuns – and an order the Holy Father had contact with during his youth.
The biography is by Italian journalist Paola Bergamini. Entitled “Il Vangelo guancia a guancia” (The Cheek to Cheek Gospel), the 192-page book will hit bookshops from March 6 and will receive an official launch in Milan on March 8, according to Vatican News.
In the text, the Pope writes: “I have many memories tied to these religious women who, as silent angels enter the homes of those in need, work patiently, look after, help, and then silently return to their convent. They follow their rule, pray and then go out to reach the homes of those in difficulty, becoming nurses and governesses, they accompany children to school and prepare meals for them.”
The Little Sisters of the Assumption, established in France in 1865, have communities in more than 25 countries across the world.