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Pope Francis: ‘My Three Personal Covids’

Pope Francis explores his own personal moments of solitude in an excerpt released on Monday from his new book with British author and journalist Austen Ivereigh, entitled “Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future”.

Illness at young age

His first Covid-like moment came at the age of 21, when he fell deathly ill with a lung infection during his second year in the seminary at Buenos Aires. He says the experience changed how he saw life, and gave him a good idea of how people with Covid-19 feel as they struggle to breathe on ventilators. “I remember hugging my mother and saying: ‘Just tell me if I’m going to die.’”

Pope Francis says two nurses helped him greatly during his stay in hospital. One, Sister Cornelia Caraglio, saved his life because she upped his dosage of medication without the doctor’s knowledge. Another, Micaela, performed a similar gesture of mercy with painkillers when he was in intense pain. “They fought for me to the end, till my eventual recovery.”

From that near-death experience, says the Pope, he learned the importance of avoiding cheap consolations. Many people offered empty promises of a quick recovery, though they were spoken with good intentions.

But one nun who had taught him as a child, Sister María Dolores Tortolo, just came in, took his hand, gave him a kiss, and sat in silence. She finally said, “You’re imitating Jesus.” Her words and presence taught him to speak as little as possible when visiting the sick.

Source: Vatican News

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