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Pope Francis © Vatican Media

On First ‘Saturday of Mercy,’ Pope Makes Surprise Visit to Elderly Woman

Bedridden Woman Had Repeatedly Invited Francis to Visit Her

On an unprecedented ‘Saturday of Mercy,’ Pope Francis visited an elderly woman he knew on the afternoon of Sunday, July 28, 2018. Because of her illness, she could not leave home, and had repeatedly requested the Holy Father visit her, according to the Italian agency Dire.

The Bishop of Rome unexpectedly arrived in his blue Ford Focus at Via Alessandria in the Salario neighborhood of Rome, to visit the lady in person.

Some people in the neighborhood recognized the Pope’s blue car and waited, despite the heat, for him to come out. Accompanied by the Vatican gendarmes and policemen, the visit lasted about an hour.

Francis greeted the neighborhood residents who waited for him down the street, when he left the building. According to Vatican News, the Pope, with “great affection, shook hands with each of them and gave hugs and smiles.”

Several people approached the Pontiff, including a sick man, who lives in the same building as the old woman. This gentleman was given a blessing by the Holy Father.

Moreover, Pope Francis stopped to play with a child, while a young woman, upon seeing him, could not contain tears of emotion. Another neighbor approached the Holy Father to give him a small crucifix.

Pope Francis knows well the neighborhood, since a few meters away, in Piazza Buenos Aires, there is the Argentine church of Santa Maria Addolorata, where the Pope, when he was a cardinal, went by bus.

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, EWTN and Salt & Light. For 'The Other Francis': https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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