A Franciscan Encounter after Pope Francis’ First Apostolic Blessing

by Sister Louise on March 14, 2013

Needless to say, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are excited about having a Pope Francis. Community Director Sister Louise Hembrecht not only was interviewed by local Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter Media for her feelings about this papal selection, but she shares here a personal encounter  that happened after the Holy Father’s formal announcement. We invite you to share any recent experiences that have touched you deeply.

I had a rather unusual shopping experience this morning. I was on my way out of a store after picking up a few items when a gentleman got my attention and asked if I could help him. I asked what he needed and he told me that he thought he was dying. I asked if he had been to the doctor and he had and was now going to pick up some medicine.

 After a few seconds, I asked him if he was afraid of dying and he said that he was. I asked why and he said because he had committed sins in his life. Next, I asked if he was Catholic. That brought a negative answer.

Then all of a sudden I thought of yesterday and Pope Francis. I asked the gentleman if he had watched television yesterday and heard Pope Francis speak after being elected by the Cardinals. He had.

So I said – Well you know that in that speech, he gave general absolution forgiving our sins and the effects of those sins. The commentators spoke of the meaning of the Keys of Peter, that what Peter and his successors loose on earth is loosed in heaven and what he binds on earth is bound in heaven. Then Pope Francis said that the absolution applied to those in St. Peter’s Square and all who were watching by any means of media. And he didn’t say that he was forgiving only the sins of Catholics or Catholic sins (whatever that might be) so that the sins of all who were listening were forgiven. I asked if he loved God – an affirmative response and if he was sorry for his sins – another affirmative response. Then I told him not to worry because our sins had been forgiven. I told him I would keep him in prayer.

He thanked me and went in to get his medicine. God is good and so is Pope Francis.

4 thoughts on “A Franciscan Encounter after Pope Francis’ First Apostolic Blessing”

  1. Sister Mary Ann says:

    What an encounter Sister Louise! I’ m sure that spending time listening and reassuring this dear man of God’s loving presence and forgiveness is bringing him peace and healing!

  2. Sister Monica's Mom, Susan says:

    And the outward sign of your religious habit opened the door for him to feel safe to approach you to divulge such a personal fear. Thanks for sharing that, Sister Louise.

  3. I was in a local grocery store today and while I was trying to pick out kiwi for Sister Louise’s birthday tomorrow, I was asked by another fruit shopper how I felt about the ‘news’. Before I could breathe the person told me she was not a Catholic, but she was happy about a ‘Pope Francis.’ She told me ‘he loved cats’, liked the fact that ‘he rode buses’, and ‘hung out with the poor’. I couldn’t help but think…yes, this is one of those ‘new evangelization moments’! I was deeply grateful that I, too, was Franciscan at heart!

  4. The whole world seemed to be watch with us and then celebrating with us as our church was gifted with a new pope. This is a great time to be a Franciscan and the love for St. Francis is so visible. Thanks to all who are sharing their stories of encounters with others.

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