Around the 4th of March, we heard about “adopting a Cardinal”, and we all hopped on the bandwagon. The Sisters, Residents and employees were very much into adopting a Cardinal for whom we would pray that he would open his heart and mind to the Holy Spirit in the selection of a Pope. We were all excited about sharing the name of our Cardinal and praying for him.
Then came the day when all the Cardinals gathered together in prayer and at Mass as they prepared for the beginning of the Conclave. I think we prayed harder for our respective Cardinals. To help things along we decided to have a continuous Rosary for our Cardinals and for the Conclave itself. We were really into it! Residents prayed their Rosaries in the Chapel, in their rooms, while in physical therapy and with the Sisters praying either in the chapel or in private and while out on the road. The Rosary was being said at least every half hour.
The Sisters on the begging were approached by people asking about the Cardinals and when the Pope would be elected. Although we tried to answer their questions, we knew we couldn’t say definitely when the Pope would be elected. Tuesday gave us 2 bursts of black smoke, and we knew it would start all over again on Wednesday. Another day, and our Residents continued to pray.
Wednesday, one of our benefactors asked, “Sister, will it be today?” The response was, “I really can’t say, but I do think it is a little too soon.” That same afternoon, while at dinner (lunch), we received a phone call with this message: “There is white smoke”. Everything stopped as the Sisters ran toward the TV. Mother Theresa went out to the lobby to use the overhead speaker to announce “white smoke”. Much to her surprise she couldn’t make the announcement, since our new phone system was being put in place and the P.A. system was not yet working. While Rome was announcing a new Pope via “White smoke” St. Paul’s Home was announcing via courier. Mother sent several people to the floors to be sure everyone knew and to be sure the TVs were on. Within half an hour people were congratulating us on the election of the new Pope. We still didn’t know “who” it was. Finally, after an hour, we learned of the election of Pope Francis. The many vendors in our building were congratulating us and we could see the happiness on their faces as they joined in our joy of announcing Pope Francis as the new successor of Peter.
Thursday, the Sisters were at the Food Bank when one of the persons who works there came to us and said, “Sister, I couldn’t wait for you to get here today. I want to know what you think of your new Pope. I am so happy for you and all the Sisters and the whole Catholic Church. I just couldn’t wait to congratulate you. God bless you and God bless the Pope.”
What a great feeling to know so many people were praying for us and the new Holy Father. By the way, our phone system is up and running!!!