Pope's Young Sweetheart Recalls His Love Letter

Amalia Damonte says 12-year-old Bergoglio wanted to marry her
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2013 8:27 AM CDT

Apparently you can credit Amalia Damonte for Jorge Bergoglio becoming Pope Francis—or perhaps her father, reports the Week. When Bergoglio was just 12, he had a young "romance" with Damonte, writing a letter saying they would be married and drawing a picture of the house they would live in. She said he vowed to become a priest if Amalia, who lived near him in a Buenos Aires suburb, rejected the offer.

However, Damonte's father wasn't about to stand for his 12-year-old daughter talking to boys, and slapped her for starting to write back. "I never saw him after that—my parents kept me away from him and did everything possible to separate us," says Damonte, adding that "it was a thing between children and totally pure." The Telegraph, meanwhile, catches up with the pope's sister, Maria Elena Bergoglio, who says her brother was never jazzed about the prospect of leading the church. "He didn't want to be pope and when we chatted privately about it, we joked at the prospect and he would say, 'No, please no.'" (Read more Pope Francis stories.)

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