Like every pope before him, Pope Francis brings his own history to the Papacy.
Pope John Paul II was deeply influenced by his experiences living under the Nazis and then the Communists. Pope Benedict XVI was influenced by his academic background as well as growing up under the Nazis and then living in a country divided into slave and free. These life experiences added human understanding and dimension to the way they lived their office.
Pope Francis comes from, as he said, “the ends of the earth,” which is to say a world far removed from the Europe of the mid-twentieth century. But like these two men, he has faced unjust governments. He has also pastored people who live in abysmal poverty, in a land where children of the poor search through dumps for the means of survival while the extremely wealthy live in a separate and rarified world.
One of the most powerful formative experiences of his life must have been the illness that cost him a lung. The book I Foretti di Papa Francisco, reveals that the Holy Father credits a nun who ignored doctor’s orders and increased his dosage of antibiotics with saving his life.
It’s a powerful story that tells us a lot about this holy man.
From The Telegraph:
In a new book, I Fioretti di Papa Francesco, (The Little Flowers of Pope Francis), Andrea Tornielli, a veteran Vatican journalist, the pontiff speaks of his gratitude to the nuns who worked in the hospital where he was ill as a young man.
“I am alive thanks to one of them,” Pope Francis said. “When I had lung problems in the hospital, the doctor gave me penicillin and antibiotics in small doses.
“The nun who was on the ward tripled that because she had an intuition, she knew what to do, because she was with the ill all day long,” the pope said.
“The doctor, who was very good, spent his time in a laboratory, but the nun was living on the front line and talking with those on the front line every day.”