Ingrid Betancourt realized her dreams today when she met privately with Pope Benedict, Reuters reports. The freed French-Colombian hostage says she was overcome with emotion after hearing the pope appeal for her release on the radio during her 7 years in captivity. The 46-year-old Catholic had never read the Bible—"a dusty old book"—before being abducted, but it is now her "instruction manual for happiness."
"You cannot imagine what this can mean to a person in my situation, a prisoner, to understand you have not been forgotten," she said of hearing the pope on the radio mentioning her by name. Unaware of the protocol, Betancourt hugged the pontiff on meeting him and later said, "Maybe you are not supposed to embrace the pope."