When Pope Francis made a surprise call on New Year’s Eve to a convent of nuns in a Carmelite community in Lucena, Córdoba, no one answered the phone.
“What can the nuns be doing that’s stopping them from answering?” the pope said jokingly in a message he left on the answering machine. “This is Pope Francis, I wish to greet you this year end, I will see if I can call you later. May God bless you!”
Sister Adriana, the prioress at the convent, told the Roman Catholic Church-linked radio network COPE that she and the four other nuns were praying at the time of the call, which came at 11.45am. “When I finally got to the answering machine, I literally wanted to die,” she said. “Our friendship goes back 15 years but I never thought the pope would remember us.”
At around 7.15pm, Pope Francis called back.
“I asked for permission to put him on the speakerphone, so we could all hear his voice,” she explained. “He told us never to lose hope because sadness leads to a lack of spirituality,” she explained. “He also reminded us of the papal encyclical that states that the demon’s most sustainable food is man’s sadness.”
There are five nuns who live in the convent in Lucena; three of them are from Argentina and know Pope Bergoglio, who is also from Argentina.
The nuns raise money by making baby clothes, decorative cloth prints and figures of the Baby Jesus.