Elderly Woman Is Mugged; Pope Francis Steps In to Help

Pope Francis has sent a gift of 200 Euros to an elderly Venetian woman who wrote him, upset because she had been mugged.  The woman, in her late 80s, told the Holy Father that her purse, which contained 54 Euros, had been stolen while she was on her way to visit her ailing husband in the hospital.

The Catholic Herald reports that last week, an envelope was delivered to a local priest, Father  Gianni Antoniazzi, sealed by the Vatican Secretary of State.  In it, a note from the Pope’s new almoner, Most Reverend Konrad Krajewski, said:

“Please deliver in the manner it deems appropriate, the relevant amount to the lady in question, that it is a gift of His Holiness, who offers her his apostolic blessing accompanied by desired aid and divine comfort for her and for her husband.”

Fr. Antoniazzi was deeply moved and said,

“It is an extraordinary series of events: Francis knows not only how to interact with people, communicating brilliantly and infusing them with great hope, but also responds to personal requests.”

Some have been critical of Pope Francis for his “new way” of doing business, speaking off the cuff, upsetting the status quo.  This, though—this generosity of spirit, this concern for the individual—is where he shines.

*     *     *     *     *

There is an old legend about a young girl who was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”

*     *     *     *     *

The lesson of the starfish, like the lesson we learn from Pope Francis, is this:  While we cannot change the lives of everyone in need, we can make a difference to the person in front of us.  Pope Francis helped the elderly woman; the girl in the story helped the starfish.

We should go and do likewise, in our small way helping those in need who come into our path.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Steve

    When I saw the title of this post, I was really hoping that Francis choke-slammed a mugger.

    • Steve

      How the hell did this get 60+ upvotes? Was there a glitch or something?

  • Kelly Thatcher

    Love this — thanks, Kathy!

  • finulhour

    “We should go and do likewise, in our small way helping those in need who come into our path.” Love this.

  • kool guy


  • kool guy


  • I love the starfish story and it was a good reminder because to be honest, I was thinking, “What if everyone writes him letters now asking for money?” The point is that it mattered to that one lady and her husband.

    • Mary Finn

      They can ask, it doesn’t mean they will get. Still, the important thing is that this pope took cabs when he could have been driven. There is such a divide now between the “haves” and the “have nots.” We need someone who isn’t above it all.

  • Jean Heimann

    What a heart-warming story! 🙂 Thanks, Kathy! Our Papa certainly walks the talk!

  • Matt

    What wonderful leadership and blessing to a broken faith. I love him. Just as the Church was imploding, he was sent.

  • MDMan213

    Only 54 euros? I bet she had a lot more stuffed in a mattress somewhere. Maybe the pope should refund me the 100 euros a taxi driver stole from me in Rome last spring.

    • johnmg

      O ye of little faith! Be grateful, we at long last have a Pope we want!! Long Live El Papa May God be with him

      • Christopher Lake

        John, what you do you mean by “at long last we have a Pope we want!!”? I loved Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. I love Pope Francis too.

  • irish1lrd

    it may have been not much but at least it helped! imagine if the pope (who should have bigger issues on his mind, but stopped for this one letter/parishoner and made her and her husbands life’s better-thats the pope i want!) hadn’t done this? he cant answer every plea for help… thats what our priests are for! god bless him for his consideration on this one! and may the priesthood in general remember that they are here for us, not the other way around!

  • Mary Finn

    An even better illustration of this than the “Starfish” story is the Jewish proverb, “If you save one life, It’s as if you saved the entire world.” Sometimes we have to let go and let God. We are mortal beings and can only do what we can, but sometimes that is plenty.

  • Charles Besa

    Good gesture by OUR POPE

    Long live Pope Francis

  • EileenDemirarslanMallon

    Should alms to the poor not be given, and not spoken about.

    • Piker

      Unless your trying to teach others what they should be doing

      • EileenDemirarslanMallon

        And can this not be learned by those of average intelligence , from the Gospels .

  • Princess Joy Nkechi Ikebudu


    • Steve


  • Princess Joy Nkechi Ikebudu


  • Princess Joy Nkechi Ikebudu


  • OraetLabora

    When you tell people or publicize the good deed, it’s all for naught in God’s eyes but it sure makes for good press

    • Christopher Lake

      From this article, it seems that the Pope only told the few people who were absolutely necessary for the money to be delivered to the woman. From what I can tell, he didn’t tell the press about what he did. One of his associates told them. That is not his fault.