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The Women Whom Our Popes Loved Before They Became Priests

Even our popes experienced young, romantic love!

Valentine’s Day is almost here and most of us will be going on dates, whether with our families, friends, or significant others. But did you know that even our beloved popes used to go on romantic dates? That’s before they were priests, of course! Read below to know the romantic side of our previous pontiffs— including that of our dear Lolo Kiko!

Pope Francis and His Childhood Crush

(Inset) Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis, at age 11. (Right) Amalia Damonte, 76, grew up four doors down from Pope Francis as a child in Buenos Aires. (Photos from Jesuit General Curia / Getty Images, Kika Press /, and Wallpaper Safari)

Imagine: An 11-year-old Pope Francis, writing a love letter to a girl who lived in the same neighborhood as he did. Her name is Amalia Damonte, and she claimed that he wrote a letter to her that included a sweet marriage proposal—and if he is rebuked, he’ll become a priest instead! (Read: The Pope’s Employment History)

Amalia’s parents, albeit Catholic, were understandably conservative and very protective over their daughter. They didn’t accept the Pope’s puppy love and his thoughts of courting their daughter. Eventually, the then Jorge Bergoglio went off to fulfill the promise he wrote in the letter. How different would the world have been had Amalia accepted his affections!

Pope John Paul II and His Teenage Love

(Inset) Pope John Paul II (Right) “Maiden Vows” – Karol Wojtyła as Gustaw, Ginka Beer as Klara, Halina Królikiewicz – Kwiatkowska as Aniela. 1936, Wadowice (Photos from Karol Józef Wojtyła Twitter, John Paul II Foundation, and Wallpaper Safari)

Karol Józef Wojtyła— better known as the charismatic Pope John Paul II— loved to act during his younger days. Hence, it comes as no surprise that he also found love in his teenage years with theater actress Ginka Beer. (Read: 4 Online Plays That Pope John Paul II Would’ve Loved)

Described as a strikingly beautiful Jewish girl, Ginka is believed to have seriously stolen the heart of young Pope John Paul II, who praised her talent and features.

Pope Benedict XVI and His Charisma

(Left) Joseph Ratzinger was ordained a priest in 1951, when he was 24 years old. (Right) In 1952, a very young Ratzinger celebrated a mass in Ruhpolding, southern Germany. (Photos from and Wallpaper Safari)

If journalist Peter Seewald is to be believed, he says that Pope Benedict XVI, then Joseph Ratzinger, was popular with women during his seminarian days because of his innate intelligence, and not to mention striking good looks and demeanor. (Read: A Look Into the Brotherly Love of Joseph & Georg Ratzinger)

It was around this time when he fell in love with a woman— so much that he seriously contemplated if he was really meant to become a priest. Lucky for us, the future Pope Benedict XVI chose to stay in the seminary, leading us to this day and age where we have two living popes.


Text by Maita De Jesus.

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