In a book-interview with French researcher Dominique Wolton, Pope Francis recalls the “women in his life”: grandmothers, mother . . . but also a Paraguayan Communist and a Jewish psychoanalyst who “helped” him “a lot.”
On September 1, 2017, Le Figaro Magazine published excerpts of the work “Pope Francis: Meetings with Dominique Wolton: Politics and Society” (Editions de L’Observatoire, 432 pages), whose publication is scheduled for September 6.
“I thank God to have known true women in my life,” confides the Pontiff to the sociologist, whom he received a dozen times at the Vatican. “My two grandmothers were very different, but they were both true women. They were mothers, they worked, they were courageous, they spent time with their grandchildren, but always with this dimension of woman,” he explains.
He also paid tribute to his mother, who lived in such a way as “not to waste anything” and who “faced problems one after the other . . . She was a woman, a mother.”
Another woman in the Pope’s life was Esther Balestrino De Careaga, a chemist, head of the Department where she worked, who taught him “the political reality.” She was a Communist from Paraguay, recalls Pope Francis who thought that “Christians are the Communists. It’s the others who stole our banner!”
He also recalls a Jewish psychoanalyst: “At a moment of my life when I was in need of consulting . . . I went to her for six months once a week to clarify certain things. She was very good, very professional as a doctor and psychoanalyst; she always stayed in her place.”
“She helped me a lot. At the time I was already 42,” he specifies. And then one day, when she was about to die, she called me. Not for the Sacraments, because she was Jewish, but for a spiritual dialogue,” he adds.
“It’s important for a man to have sisters, very important,” he stressed, recalling his girl friends of adolescence, ‘little fiancees.’”
“I was enriched by being always in relationship with women,” says the Pope. “Women see things in a different way from men . . . in face of a decision to take, in face of a problem, it’s important to listen to the two.”