A personal phone call from Pope Francis would have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for devout Roman Catholics - especially the religious - but during the recent New Year's Eve, nuns in Spain missed the pontiff's call because they were busy talking to the pope's boss.
That is, the nuns were busy in their midday prayers that the pope - who is gaining a reputation for making personal calls to the faithful - got to leave only a message in the answering machine of the Barefoot Carmelites of Lucena.
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The pope shared the experience on Friday over a Spanish radio show. Thus, Pope Francis was left with no choice since the sisters were talking to God himself via prayers that he just left this voice message: "This is Pope Francis. I wanted to give you New Year's greetings. I'll see if I can reach you later. God bless you."
Sister Adriana, prioress of the convent, disclosed to COPE radio station, that the pope is an old friend of some of the Argentinean nuns from their group. Before he succeeded Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis was the archbishop of the Diocese of Buenos Aires in Argentina. He is actually an Italian by ancestry, but considers himself an Argentinean because his parents migrated to Argentina and raised him in the South American nation.
Sister Adriana added that after her duties, she checked the phone and to her surprise heard the pontiff's message. She admitted that "she literally wanted to die" upon learning of the missed opportunity.
"I took down the message and passed it on to the other nuns. We told ourselves we had just been fulfilling our duty of prayer. We never thought the Pope would remember us," The Associated Press quoted the nun.
All's well that ends well, because while the nuns failed to contact him and return the call despite the assistance of a bishop, Pope Francis only showed he is a man who keeps his word because he called again in the evening - and this time the nuns were no longer praying - and managed to talk to them and convey his New Year's greetings to the congregation.
A week earlier, Pope Francis also personally gave his Christmas greeting to his predecessor on the afternoon of Dec 23.
The vignette adds to the growing list of personal touches made by the chief shepherd of the 2-billion Roman Catholic church which explains why he got Time Magazine's recognisition as Person of the Year in 2013 and why visitors to Vatican tripled in the last 10 months compared to the entire year in 2012 when Pope Benedict led the Holy See.