Since his assumption of the papacy in March, Pope Francis has developed a reputation for being the people’s pontiff, valuing and fostering personal connections with his devoted followers. Recently, he’s been calling men and women who write to him, and on Aug. 25 he called an Argentine woman who was raped, and wrote to the pope for guidance.
According to The Huffington Post:
Alejandra Pereyra was knitting at her home when she received a phone call from a stranger who knew her name. When she identified herself, he said, "It's Pope Francis."
Pereyra recounted the experience on Argentinean television, and after she picked up the phone, "I started crying. With an angelic voice, he told me to be calm and that he was calling because he had read my letter and my story struck him."
Pereyra wrote to Pope Francis in mid-August, recounting her tragic story. The mother of six said after months of police harassment, she was raped at gunpoint inside an officer's car.
Pope Francis has spent a lot of his summer meeting with his followers in person, as well. He met up with a cyclist on a 6,200 mile journey just to wish him well, invited a boy with Down Syndrome to ride alongside him in the Popemobile, called a 19-year-old engineering student just to chat, and was brought to tears when 9-year-old Nathan de Brito hugged him and said he wanted to be a priest, according to The Huffington Post.
And while the Pope tries to make every conversation as honest and informal as possible, there are certain rules one should follow when speaking with the Pontiff, according to Beppe Severgnini:
_ Listen first, then talk, and if the conversation permits, ask the soccer-mad Francis about the recent friendly between Italy and Argentina.
_ Always ask how Benedict XVI is doing. "It'll make him happy," Severgnini noted. Francis frequently refers fondly to his 86-year-old retired predecessor who is living on the other side of the Vatican gardens.
_ Avoid touchy subjects like Vatican policy or scandal.
_ Don't ask for any favors.