Edna’s letter to Pope Francis

By Felipe Herrera-Espaliat

Jun 24 2023

Pope Francis sends a touching video message to a 17-year-old Portuguese girl suffering from a serious illness. The girl had written him a letter expressing her affection and also her sadness at not being able to attend the next World Youth Day in Lisbon.

Edna is 17 years old and is aware that she will soon meet God. This was explained to her by the doctor who has been assisting her with the serious illness she has been suffering from for eight years. This is also how she told Pope Francis in a letter he received yesterday, Thursday 22 June. “The doctor said that he does not know when I will meet Jesus, but that it will happen soon,” she recounted with a serenity that moved the Holy Father.

Although she has registered to attend the next World Youth Day, to be held in Lisbon between 1 and 6 August, she confided to Pope Francis that it will not be possible to accompany him physically. Edna, who wished with all her heart to meet the Pope, is living this situation with sorrow, but also with a genuine and sincere faith, and a benevolent smile, as witnessed by those who have attended her for more than a decade in the parish of St Maximilian Kolbe, on the outskirts of the Lisbon.

“When I heard that the Day would be held in Portugal, I was very happy, because every time I see the Pope speak on television, I feel well, as if I had no illness that would prevent me from participating in the WYD,” Edna points out in the letter. She adds that she wanted to write to Pope Francis so that he would know “how important he is for me and for my family”.

Six times ‘thank you’

As soon as he read the lines written by Edna from the hospital, the Pope decided to answer her with a video message of just over a minute in which he repeats the word “thank you” six times:

“Edna, I received your letter, thank you! Thank you for your tenderness and thank you for the peace in your heart. This peace is like a seed planted in the hearts of all of us who see you and all those who talk to you.  Thank you! I accompany you on this journey that you are making. I accompany you and I know that you will be well received.  I accompany you by praying for you, praying with you, and looking at Jesus, who is always waiting for us. Thank you!” the Holy Father told her. 

Edna asked the Pope to pray for her and in the video message Francis asked her to do the same for him. Prayers for each other with the Pope’s the blessing: “And now I give you my blessing so that it may also give you strength on this journey.” – Vatican News