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What does the Pope’s sister have to say about his papacy?

Pope Francis is known by many to be an advocate of family values. In his speeches, he always makes sure to remind everyone about the importance of keeping in touch with one’s kin. 

As the Santo Papa once said, “Are you married? Be a saint by loving and taking care of your husband or your wife, as Christ did for the Church. . . Are you a parent or a grandparent? Be a saint by passionately teaching your children or grandchildren to know and to follow Jesus. It takes so much patience to do this: to be a good parent, a good grandfather, a good mother, a good grandmother; it takes so much patience and with this patience comes holiness…” 

Has the Pope learned these from personal experience? His close relationship with his sister Maria Elena Bergoglio tell us so!

Also Read: The Pope’s Italian Roots

Bergoglio Family
In this undated picture released by journalist Sergio Rubin, then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, second from left in back row, poses for a picture with his family in an unknown location. Top row from left to right, his brother Alberto Horacio, Bergoglio, his brother Oscar Adrian and his sister Marta Regina. Bottom row from left to right, his sister Maria Elena, his mother Regina Maria Sivori and his father Mario Jose Bergoglio. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Sergio Rubin, ho)

As the only living sibling (they were five in all) of Pope Francis, it was no surprise that Maria Elena got the attention of people who were curious about what she had to say when her brother was proclaimed as Santo Papa.

“I had been hoping for [Cardinal Odilo Pedro] Scherer from Brazil,” she candidly told during an interview. “I’ve always liked him. He’s for the poor.”

What a shock! Did this mean she wasn’t rooting for her brother? Her answer to this was just as surprising, not to mention refreshing: “Because I wanted him back!”

But this doesn’t mean that Maria Elena isn’t ecstatic about her brother being the Pope. In fact, she is filled with joy for him, for he possesses a “distinct kind of happiness” being the Pope.

“When I finally had a chance to think about it, to watch him some more, I got the impression that he seems very happy, and it made me think that the Holy Spirit must be right there with him. He seems happy, whole. He was close to the people here in Argentina, but today he seems even closer and more able to express his feelings, which I suppose is the Holy Spirit helping him,” she explained.

It’s the type of happiness that a loving sister dreams of for a sibling. She wistfully admitted that she misses their long, weekly phone conversations. But while that’s a lot to give up, she also has much to gain. She said, “To tell the truth, it’s more like I’ve gained millions of new brothers and sisters, and I’m trying to figure out how to share my brother with all these new members of the family!”


For the full article, grab a copy of My Pope Philippines August 2019 issue.
Text by Stephanie Jesena-Novero.SUBSCRIBE NOW


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