When Caterina’s cell phone rang just after 5 pm on Sunday, January 23, she almost didn’t answer it. The display read “private number,” but after a moment she decided to take the call.
“Hello, I’m Pope Francis,” said the voice on the line.
“Oh my God!” was Caterina’s first reaction, according to a report on the Italian news website Avvenire.it.
The Holy Father reassured her, ”No, not mamma mia … I am really Pope Francis!”
When Caterina recalled that a few days before she had sent a letter to the pope about their family, she entertained the possibility that it really was him.
Caterina and her husband Bruno, of Turin, Italy, are the foster parents of two severely disabled children, Giorgia and Marcel. A few days before, some friends of the couple told them they were about to meet the pope and suggested that Caterina and Bruno write a letter to the pope, telling him about their expanded family.
Caterina agreed to write the letter, and did so in her foster daughter, Giorgia’s name.
“I do not walk, I do not speak with my voice, but I communicate with my eyes. I have a cochlear implant that makes me hear the music, of which I am passionate, and the voices of my loved ones and friends. In this last year I had to undergo an operation because I had a dislocation at the hip and I suffered a lot, but thank God, I’m better now,” read the letter, according to the report in Avvenire.it.
The letter went on to tell the Holy Father about their two biological children, and their foster son Marcel, “a big boy of 26 with autism.”
Caterina included a photo of Giorgia and Marcel watching Pope Francis’ Angelus on TV, and…. her cell phone number.
“But I didn’t expect him to really call me, and even after only two days from when our acquaintances gave him our letter,” she said.
Once Caterina was convinced that it was really the pope on the line, he told her he had read her letter and asked how Giorgia and Marcel were.
It was like talking to a “friend,” she told Avvennire.it. “He wanted to know more details about their stories.
According to the report, since 2003 Caterina and Bruno have opened their home to fifteen minors. Caterina takes a lead role in the “Take Me Home” project that prepares families to welcome minors who were abandoned at birth.
“I thank you for what you do for these children” the pope told her.