Pope Francis could never forget the Dominican nurse and nun who saved his life when he was 20 years old and recalled what she did for him during a recent meeting with Italian nursing professionals at the Vatican. The pope made sure to thank the nurses for their work, especially the one who looked after him while he was at a hospital in Argentina.
The pontiff shared that when he had a lung infection years ago, it was a Dominican nurse, Sister Cornelia Caraglio, who also came from Italy, who insisted to the doctors that he needed more antibiotics to get better.
"I was on the verge of death," the pope revealed. He then described the nurse as "a great woman, and courageous to the point of arguing with the doctors."
"I survived," Pope Francis added. "I thank her and I want you to know her name."
The pontiff met with some members of the Federation of Professional Nursing Colleges, Health Assistants, and Child Wardens on Saturday at the Vatican. They were welcomed at the Pope Paul VI hall.
He reflected that nurses, more than any other staff at a hospital or rehabilitation center, spend the most time with the patients and their families. He acknowledged that these professionals have the sensitivity that makes them "promoters of the life and dignity" of the sick just like Jesus Christ.
The pontiff also reminded the professionals to never forget the importance of touch and caress in helping their patients heal. He implored the nurses to follow in the example of Christ, who showed mercy and compassion towards a leper, as written in the Gospels.
The pope also said that the nurses' contribution to healthcare can never be replaced and despite their tiring work, they continue to put their patients' needs first. He described the nurses as "experts in humanity."