Anna Romero, a 35-year-old woman from central Italy, was on vacation when she received a phone call from the Pope. She had written the pontiff earlier this summer, describing her anguish at discovering that she had become pregnant by a man who – unknown to her at the time – was already married.
“In June I discovered I was pregnant through him and when I told him instead of being happy he told me he was already married, already had a child and to have an abortion,” Romero said, according to the Daily Mail.
“I told him that I would not have an abortion and told him to get out of my life.”
Romero described her situation in a letter to the Pope, sharing that she had never had luck with men, and that after marrying young and getting divorced, she thought she had found the perfect man.
However, after learning about the man's existing marriage, she felt “humiliated and betrayed,” and told the Holy Father that she wrote to him because she had “no-one else to turn to.”
“I addressed the letter simply to Pope Francis, the Vatican and put it in the post. I didn't even send it recorded delivery. I didn't really expect to get a reply but then out of the blue when I was on holiday I had a phone call from him.”
Romero said that when the call came in, she knew the number was from Rome because of the city's dial code, and that she recognized the Pope's voice as soon as he started speaking.
“I had only seen the Pope once before, from St. Peter's Square when I lived in Rome,” she said, “I would never have imagined that the Pope would pick up a telephone and call me and speak to me as if I was a dear friend.”
“We were only on the phone for a few minutes but my heart was filled with joy,” she added.
During the call, Pope Francis consoled her, saying that she would never be alone, and that a child is a “gift from God” and “a sign of Divine Providence,” saying also that she had been both “brave and strong” for her unborn child.
When Romero shared her fears of baptizing her baby because she was divorced and a single mother, the Holy Father assured her that he would be her spiritual father, and even voiced his willingness to baptize the baby himself.
Romero said that even if the Pope does not end up performing the baptism, the phone call has changed her life.
She said that she hopes her letter “will be an example for other women who feel they may be distant from the Church simply because they have chosen the wrong man, they are divorced or they are with men who are not worthy of being fathers.”
“I don't know the sex of the baby,” she added, “but if the Pope does baptize it and it's a boy I have no doubt of his name – Francis.”
Originally published by Catholic News Agency on 9 September 2013.