Pope Francis on his ‘personal COVID’: his exile in Argentina

By Pope Francis, 5 December 2020
Pope Francis at the weekly General Audience. Image: Vatican News.


In his new book, “Let Us Dream,” Pope Francis describes his three “personal Covids”: times in his life when circumstances have forced him to stop, reflect and, sometimes, change course.

With encouragement from his collaborator and biographer Austen Ivereigh, the pope disclosed how, after a life-threatening bout of pneumonia led to the removal of part of one lung, he came to understand his dependence on others. This was his first personal Covid.

The second came when the Jesuits transferred him to Frankfurt, Germany, in 1986 to improve his German and do research. The pope describes feeling uprooted and homesick, occasionally walking to a nearby cemetery to watch planes arrive and take off, “pining for my homeland.”

What follows is an excerpt from the book describing Francis’ third Covid—what biographers have called his exile in Cordoba following his controversial leadership of the Argentine Jesuits (1973-79) during that country’s “Dirty War.”

To continue reading the Pope’s essay, click here.

The excerpt is adapted from Let Us Dream by Pope Francis. Copyright © 2020 by Austen Ivereigh. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

With thanks to America Magazine, where this article originally appeared.


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