By Sarah Mac Donald - 06 January, 2014
A group of Carmelite nuns in the Spanish city of Lucena in Córdoba are still in shock over a phone call Pope Francis made to them to wish them a happy new year and which they initially failed to answer.
The hugely popular pontiff couldn’t get a reply when he first called the community and so he left a message on their answering machine, asking, “What are the nuns doing that they can’t answer the phone?”
“This is Pope Francis. I wanted to offer you greetings for the end of the year. Maybe I’ll try to call again later. May God bless you,” he said.
Sr Adriana, the prioress at the convent, told COPE radio, a Church-linked network, that she and the four other nuns were praying at the time of the call, which came at 11.45am.
“When I finally got to the answering machine, I literally wanted to die,” she said. “Our friendship goes back 15 years but I never thought the Pope would remember us.”
At around 7.15pm, Pope Francis called back.
“I asked for permission to put him on the speakerphone, so we could all hear his voice,” Sr Adriana recalled.
“He told us never to lose hope because sadness leads to a lack of spirituality,” she explained. “He also reminded us of the papal encyclical that states that the demon’s most sustainable food is man’s sadness.”
The Carmelite convent is home to five nuns; three of them are from Argentina and know Pope Francis from before his election.
The nuns raise money by making baby clothes, decorative cloth prints and figures of the Baby Jesus.