When Pope Francis was a parish priest in Argentina, he met a mother with young children who had been abandoned by her husband.
She had no steady income. When odd jobs were scarce, she would prostitute herself in order to feed her children and provide for her family. During that time, she would visit the local parish, which tried to help her by offering food and material goods.
One day during the Christmas season the mother visited and requested to see the parish priest, Father Jorge Bergoglio. He thought she was going to thank him for the package of food the parish had sent to her.
“Did you receive it?” Fr. Bergoglio had asked her.
“Yes, yes, thank you for that, too,” the mother explained. “But I came here today to thank you because you never stopped calling me Señora.”
The Holy Father recalled this touching memory in the sixth chapter of the book The Name of God is Mercy, a newly released book-length interview of Pope Francis by Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli meant to “reveal the heart of Francis and his vision.”
This experience with the young mother profoundly touched Pope Francis, who said it taught him the importance of treating every human person with dignity and mercy, no matter their situation in life.
“Experiences like this teach you how important it is to welcome people delicately and not wound their dignity,” Pope Francis stated in the book.
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