Loading
New book collects memories of Pope Francis from Argentina
Pope Francis at General Audience on Sept. 25, 2013. Credit: Elise Harris/CNA.
Pope Francis at General Audience on Sept. 25, 2013. Credit: Elise Harris/CNA.
By Michelle Bauman
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- A new book on the Holy Father gathers insights and recollections from 20 people across Argentina who knew Pope Francis as a seminarian, priest and bishop in Buenos Aires.

“A Pope who is constantly surprising people with his gestures, words and teachings comes from somewhere, has a background,” said editor and translator Alejandro Bermudez, “and that's what the book tries to explore.”

“Pope Francis: Our Brother, Our Friend” (Ignatius Press) records personal recollections from twenty individuals who personally knew the man who became Pope Francis.

Shortly after Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope in March, Bermudez – who heads both Catholic News Agency and ACI Prensa, the largest Catholic news provider in Spanish – traveled to Argentina to conduct interviews with those who had personally known the Holy Father.

The result, Bermudez explained, is “the mosaic of a complex, rich personality that can help us understand the concerns, the experiences, the convictions and spiritual motivations behind the decisions and style of Pope Francis.”

The book offers memories and reflections through the eyes of 10 Jesuits who lived close to Pope Francis in Argentina – as peers, professors or those receiving spiritual direction from then-Fr. Bergoglio.

These accounts are enriched by the testimony of 10 other individuals who knew the Pope, Bermudez explained, “from a prestigious politician to a lowly beggar, from a rabbi to a priest working in the slums.”

Fr. Ángel Rossi, S.J., who was a student of then-Fr. Bergoglio and is now superior of the Residencia Jesuita community in Córdoba, described the Pope as “a very skillful man.”

“I say that he is a mix between a desert saint and a brilliant manager, a combination that normally isn’t very common,” the priest explained in the book.

“He is a man with great intelligence, and also with academic and scholarly intelligence, but above all I think of that special perception which previously the monks used to call the ‘cardiognosis’: the gift of knowing peoples’ hearts.”

A 62-year-old beggar in Buenos Aires said that Fr. Bergoglio “cared for me, he cared for us, he knew all of us.”

He recounted how Pope Francis, as a priest and later as a bishop and cardinal, would ask for prayers.

“I always liked to greet him because he always gave a smile. He never greeted seriously or in a bad mood,” the beggar recalled, adding, “We miss him here.”

“He was a person who went from giving spiritual assistance to someone, to speaking on the phone with a bishop or some important person, to washing clothes in the laundry or to the kitchen or where they raised the hogs,” said Fr. Fernando Cervera, S.J., whose spiritual advisor was then-Fr. Bergoglio.

He added that the Pope had been very involved with the students in the classroom as well.

José María Poirier, director of the Catholic magazine “Criterio,” said that as a cardinal, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the publication’s 80th anniversary and told the staff members to “be on the cultural frontiers, do not expect the intellectuals to come to you; you be the ones going out to meet the non-religious intellectuals, the non-Catholics and non-Christians.”

The great “paradox” of Pope Francis, said Poirier, was that despite his tremendous work with the poor of Buenos Aires and his contributions to interreligious dialogue, he consciously chose to keep such a low profile that “he was almost invisible in the eyes of the city.”

“Pope Francis: Our Brother, Our Friend” is now available in English from Ignatius Press.

Tags: Pope Francis

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
27

Liturgical Calendar

November 27, 2014

Thursday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 17:11-19

Gospel
Date
11/27/14
11/25/14
11/24/14

Daily Readings


Gospel:: Lk 21: 20-28

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/27/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 17:11-19

Homily
Date
11/27/14
11/25/14
11/24/14