Pope visits elderly woman in Rome

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Pope Francis at the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, May 2, 2018. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Pope Francis made a surprise trip Saturday to visit an elderly woman in a central district of Rome, drawing attention from local residents as they spotted his blue car.

The pope made the July 28 visit to the woman who is bedridden and has repeatedly invited him to visit her at her home  in the Salario neighborhood.

He spent about an hour with the woman, while a few Vatican Gendarmes and Italian police officers waited outside the house.

Pope Francis affectionately greeted local residents, shaking hands, offering hugs, and playing with a young child. Pope Francis also blessed religious articles which had been brought to him.

Before the Pope got into his vehicle, another resident who was sick raced down the stairs to greet the Pope and receive a blessing.   

Pope Francis has instigated surprise papal visits in the past. During the Jubilee Year of Mercy in 2016, the Pope would participate in a monthly work of mercy, often on the month’s first Friday.

Among other acts of charity, the Holy Father has visited homeless shelters, nursing homes, and hospitals. On separate occasions, Pope Francis has invited blue-collar employees and prison inmates to lunch.

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