By Sarah Mac Donald - 12 January, 2014
Pope Francis met with Italian disability campaigner, Ileana Argentin, on Saturday morning in the Vatican.
Ms Argentin is well-known as a disability campaigner in the city of Rome, where she has lobbied as a member of the City Council, as well as in the Italian parliament.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Vatican spokesman, Fr Frederico Lombardi, said the Italian MP had requested a meeting with the Pontiff in a personal letter in which she raised a number of issues in relation to those with disabilities.
Ms Argentin is herself confined to a wheelchair.
Pope Francis “promptly replied” to her request and invited her to come and meet him and that meeting took place yesterday at the Apostolic Palace for half an hour.
During the meeting, the MP focused principally on the importance of supporting the parents of seriously disabled people, who live with great anxiety over what may happen to their children after their own deaths.
She also highlighted the difficulties which the siblings of those who are disabled may encounter in taking up the responsibility of care.
“Pope Francis showed great interest in all these issues,” Fr Lonbardi said.
The Pontiff also assured his “participation and encouragement for all people and campaigns working with increasing dedication to challenge problems relating to disability,” the Vatican spokesman said.