Pope Francis: A Nun Saved My Life

New book describes his early treatment for lung problems

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 9, 2013 6:32 PM CST

(Newser) – Pope Francis is alive today thanks to a nun who he says "had an intuition" and "knew what to do," according to a new book by a longtime Vatican journalist. Francis expressed his gratitude for a nun who took care of him when he was ill as a young man with lung problems: "I am alive thanks to one of them," he said. The doctor, "who was very good," gave him only small doses of penicillin and antibiotics. "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's history of lung problems raised questions early on—especially after Pope Benedict XVI stepped down with health problems—but a Vatican rep has insisted that "his health is good and he shows great stamina." The book, The Little Flowers of Pope Francis by Andrea Tornielli, also describes how Francis personally called a cleaning woman and offered to pray for her drug-addicted son, the Telegraph reports. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he liked visiting impoverished areas to dine with the poor. One of them told Tornielli, "He looked me in the eyes and said to me: 'I like to sit at the tables of the poor because they serve food and share with their hearts.'"

Pope Francis looks up at the statue of the Virgin Mary, on the occasion of the Immaculate Conception feast, in Rome, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013.
Pope Francis looks up at the statue of the Virgin Mary, on the occasion of the Immaculate Conception feast, in Rome, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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