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Pope remembers an Italian grandma’s advice and her ravioli


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 05/11/24

We know the Holy Father always asks us to pray for him. Apparently a little old lady at the Vatican inspired part of his request.

Pope Francis gave a spirited address to the fourth edition of the “General States of Natality” forum on birth rates, lamenting the “shortage of children,” and saying that “the problem of our world is not the children who are born: it is selfishness, consumerism, and individualism.” But at the end of his exhortation, the Pope shared an amusing anecdote.

Since his election in 2013, the Holy Father has asked hundreds and hundreds of times for the faithful to pray for him. He ends nearly every public address, saying: “Don’t forget to pray for me.”

But sometimes, he jokingly adds: “Pray for me, not against me.”

At the address on May 10, the Pope shared where this little extra entreaty comes from.

“I say it because once I was finishing an audience over there,” he said, gesturing toward the Vatican, which was very close to where the forum was held in the amphitheater on Via della Conciliazione, the road that leads to St. Peter’s Square.

At the barrier of the audience, the Pope explained, “There was a lady, an old lady [with] tiny, beautiful eyes. She began to say, ‘Come, come.’ She was nice.”

He continued:

I went over to her: “Madam, what is your name?”
She told me her name.
“And how old are you?”
“But what do you do? What do you eat to stay so strong?”
“I eat ravioli, I make them myself.” And she gave me the recipe for the ravioli.
And then I said to her, “Madam, please, pray for me.”

At that point, the Italian grandmother shared not only her recipe for youth, but also some advice. After she assured the Holy Father that she prays for him every day, the Pope answered: “Jokingly, I said to her, ‘But pray for me, not against!'”

And the little old lady, smiling, said to me, “Be careful, Father. They pray against you in there” [gesturing toward the Vatican]. Clever, eh! A bit anticlerical.

So please: for, not against. For.

ElderlyPope Francis
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