He’s cracked jokes about mothers-in-law in the past, but when it comes to the subject of mothers, Pope Francis takes this special group very seriously. Perhaps it’s because he witnessed the hardships of his own mother, Italian immigrant to Argentina Regina Maria Sivori, as well as his grandma Rosa, who helped raise little Jorge when his four younger siblings were born.
“To be a mother is a great treasure,” he has said. “Mothers, in their unconditional and sacrificial love for their children, are the antidote to individualism; they are the greatest enemies against war.”
Here are four instances when the Pontiff revealed a soft spot for all kinds of mothers:
He is a Marian devotee.
“In the difficult moments of life, Christians can turn to the Mother of God and find protection and care,” said Francis, who did just that the day after he was elected pope. Paying a visit to the Papal Basilica, he prayed before the image of Mary Salus Populi Romani and asked for her help and protection.
The Pope is also devoted to Mary, Undoer of Knots, whose painting he came upon while he was studying theology in Germany in the 1980s. Years later, Francis would propagate this devotion in his native Argentina, and even present Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI with a chalice bearing the image. “The Christian who does not feel that the Virgin Mary is his or her mother is an orphan,” he said.
He has compassion for single moms.
Pope Francis has a penchant for making cold calls, and one such call was made in 2013 to Anna Romano, who told him in a letter than she was pregnant with a married man’s child.
“He told me I had been very brave and strong for my unborn child,” she said to catholicherald.co.uk. “I told him that I wanted to baptize the baby when it was born but I was afraid as I was divorced and a single mother but he said he would be my spiritual father and he would baptize my baby.”
He believes it’s okay for moms to breastfeed in public.
At last year’s annual baptism in the Sistine Chapel, where he personally baptized 34 babies, Pope Francis gently assured mothers that it was all right to breastfeed their babies once they started to cry. “Feed them, because this, too, is the language of love,” he said.
He would fight for this mother.
“If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” said Pope Francis. “It’s normal.” No need to worry, though, Lolo Kiko isn’t the violent type. The quote was just his way of explaining how someone would feel if others made fun of his religion. Still, the thought of the Pope standing up for his mom is a sweet idea!