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Pope Francis’ surprise phone call to a sister in Haiti


© Famille Kizito

Agnès Pinard Legry - published on 02/23/24

On February 3, Pope Francis called Sr. Paësie, a French missionary who has devoted decades of her life to caring for the street children of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Pope Francis, who is fond of surprises, made another of his famous surprise phone calls at the beginning of February. On Saturday, February 3, he picked up the phone to reach out to Sister Paësie, a French missionary who spares no effort to help the street children of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

He wanted to surprise her by expressing his support and interest in her mission to help the 2,500 children in her care. “When my phone rang, I obviously didn’t expect to be called by the Holy Father at all,” she told Vatican News:

He sent me a message of encouragement and thanked me for being there for the children. He assured me of his prayers. That really touched me. What really struck me during that call was the Holy Father’s voice. I felt a great sense of gentleness and kindness.

Obviously, I shared this with my community, my team, and some of the children. It brought joy and hope to many other people, because this appeal was not just for me; it was really a gesture towards the children and the poorest people of Haiti.

Missionary in Haiti for over 20 years

Sr. Paësie has been a missionary in Haiti for more than 20 years. In 2017, she founded the Kizito family, a community that cares for children in the slums. It oversees their education, whether through school, catechesis, or leisure activities.

Aleteia met her while she was visiting Paris in October 2022. “We live from day to day. You can even feel it in the way the children we teach pray,” she said. “They thank God for having given them another day and for being able to return home safe and sound.”

I just called …

Bereaved parents, simple folk facing the vicissitudes of daily life, or heads of state: Many have received signs of Pope Francis’ personal attention over the last 10 years. Francis’ calls often come as a complete surprise to his interlocutors.

Whether he answers his mail himself with handwritten cards, or spontaneously picks up the phone, since his election in 2013 the Argentinian Pope has made himself close to the most ordinary people as well as those in positions of great power, even if it means bypassing the official channels of diplomacy.

HaitiNunsPope Francis
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