Thursday, March 28, 2013

His sister says Pope will change the Church

Maria Elena Bergoglio: "Jorge is a Pope who will change our Church"

The younger sister of Pope reveals the most intimate family side of His Holiness and tells how his life has changed since he was elected successor to Benedict XVI

"I have no plans at the moment to visit Rome. But I'm going to make the journey, " she said.

Maria Elena Bergoglio (64), the sister of Pope Francisco has lived in a house of exposed brick and with a tile roof in Ituzaingó. For nearly thirty years, "Mariela" - as she is called by her friends and neighbors has lived in the west of Buenos Aires. Housewife and separated from her husband, until a few days, spent her life in tranquility along with her two sons, George (37), architect and Joseph (28), store clerk. However, from Wednesday 13, when the French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran announced to the world the nomination of the new Pope, Mrs Bergoglio's routine changed in an instant. "It was a matter of seconds. Barely had my brother been named and the phone started ringing. And that was throughout the day. I could not sleep much. Today I wanted to take a nap and rest a while, but then the doorbell rang. The first thing I thought was that things were not going to be the same. And I think I was right. It has really changed my life, says " Mariela ", 24 hours after the election of the first Latin American pope.

How do you live now?

'It's a very big stir, but I know that in the course of the day, little by little, I'm going to assimilate the fact that suddenly I have a brother who is Pope. I need to connect with my feelings, with this revolution of emotions that fills me with happiness but which still will not let me sleep.

"It will be hard for my brother being so far from home. He loves Buenos Aires. Sometimes I think that the role of the Pope is very lonely"

What is your brother Jorge Bergoglio like?

Between the two, there is very much a difference in age of twelve years. And although we never played together, he was always a very close brother, very present in spite of the distances and his commitments to the Church. We talk once a week, we wrote letters and we organized to share the odd family lunch at a time when he cooked. Because he loves to make stuffed squid or mushroom risotto, which he learned from a recipe inherited from our Italian grandmother.

What is it that you admire about him?

His big heart and clarity with which he conveys his ideas ideas. That is a quality that I always admired in Jorge: the simplicity with which he shares his thoughts. My brother is a very thoughtful person that inevitably forces you to think.

How do you see his role as Pope?

Knowing him, I feel he will get to produce changes in the Church. Not only because he is a man of integrity, strong character and admirable convictions, but he will have the support of us all through prayer. As long as I remember, I have listened to Jorge asking us to pray for him. So he made his way.

Some time ago you said that he wanted to be the successor of Benedict XVI. Why?

Because I feel, maybe I'm wrong, that the role of the Pope is a very demanding task in which everyday decisions are made in solitude. It will be hard for him being away from Buenos Aires. It will be difficult for everyone. Today I thought, despite the distance, we two follow the same path but from afar.

You have not yet had the chance to talk to your brother. If you could talk to him now, what is the first thing you say?

Nothing. I think I would give him a strong hug and cry with him. In these matters, Jorge is as sensitive as I am.


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