Monday, August 21, 2006


"We all took a taxi to St. Peter’s, which we had already been through. At a small side door we were admitted to the Vatican palace. Mother and my sisters had to cover their heads with little black veils that were supplied there. Some men were in full white tie evening dress. There were about 200 people at the audience. We were conducted upstairs to a huge ornate renaissance room with beautiful ceiling paintings and wall frescos. Soon papal attendants lined us up standing in rows to wait. Then the Pope entered in a white gown and white skullcap. We were all told to kneel. He held his two fingers up and gave us all a blessing; then walked slowly along the kneeling lineup presenting his hand with a ring on it, which each person in turn was expected to kiss. The “audience” did not mean that we were able to say anything to him nor he to us, except for his blessing at the beginning and at the end. Many people had brought rosaries and little crosses that they held in their hands when they took the Pope’s hand, so that he would have touched it; and that would have given, I suppose, some special quality to the cross or rosary. When he came to Betty Jane, 2-years-old, who was standing because she was so small, he held his hand out to her just like everybody else. But she didn’t rise to the occasion. He waited a few seconds and Mother whispered “Kiss it, kiss it.” But she answered very audibly, “I don’t want to.”

(Look, I don't know what they were doing there. They were not even Catholic.)

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