Pope Francis Has Childhood Heartbreak to Thank for Where He Is Today

Pope francisWhat a crazy week it's been for Jorge Bergoglio, or as we now know him, Pope Francis I. The former archbishop of Buenos Aires is the first guy from Latin America to lead the Vatican, and the first Jesuit pope to boot. Pretty amazing stuff, but here's what makes it even crazier: his childhood sweetheart says it almost didn't happen.

Something happened when the new pope was just 12 years old that changed everything. Without it, he wouldn't be pope today.


Turns out when Pope Francis was just a kid, he was madly in love (yes! a pope ... in love!) with a girl named Amalia Damonte. Only Damonte's dad wasn't about to let his little girl talk to boys ... so she rejected him, and he decided to join the priesthood instead. And we all know where that led him!


One cranky dad, and Jorge Bergoglio's whole life changed. He diverted onto a path that eventually led him to the papacy. If he hadn't done it, he never would have become pope, because, of course, you have to become a priest first or you'll never ascend to the top of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

Is it divine intervention? Maybe. I've certainly heard crazier. 

Or maybe it's just a reminder that life can turn on a dime, that the smallest things can change the course of a life forever. Scientists would call it the butterfly effect, the part of chaos theory that indicates a small change at one point can effect a much larger change down the road.

I'm willing to be most of us have a moment we can point to when life changed forever. Maybe it's not as obvious as joining the priesthood after a girl turned you down. And maybe (OK, probably) it didn't make you world famous.

But there's something. Some drop in the water that created a ripple that led to a tsunami that overtook your life.

So what was it? What was YOUR moment?


Image via Franco Origlia/Getty Images

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