A healthy baby boy born in the central Italian city of Rieti this week was named Francesco after the current Pope. While that may not initially sound like anything all that earth-shattering, it's actually international news, because the child was born to a nun, who claims she had no clue she was expecting.
The 31-year-old, who is originally from El Salvador, was rushed to the hospital with abdominal pains, which she thought were stomach cramps. "I did not know I was pregnant. I only felt a stomach pain," she reportedly told the Ansa news agency. While there's some speculation that she may have actually been keeping her pregnancy a secret, other sources seem to believe she really was unaware.
Local pastor Don Fabrizio Borrello seems to believe the nun, noting, "I guess she's telling the truth when she says she arrived at the hospital unaware of the pregnancy." Wow.
Whether or not she knew,according to The Telegraph, the discovery of her pregnancy alone has "embarrassed" the Catholic Church in Italy. The local bishop Delio Lucarelli said that the nun will have to leave her convent in Rieti, north of Rome, after breaking her vow of chastity. His spokesman said:
It would be preferable that she now lead a secular life with her baby, away from religious institutions.
No big surprise there. It's difficult not to feel for this woman, who for whatever reason, found herself an extremely challenging position. Thankfully, people at the hospital have begun collecting clothes and donations for her and her son, according to Italian media sources. Meanwhile, the mayor of Rieti, Simone Petrangeli has appealed to the public and media to respect the woman's privacy. Let's hope that's just the beginning of the support she and her little one will receive and need going forward.
What do you believe happened here? How do you feel about the Church's reaction to the news?
Image via nerissa's ring/Flickr