Sr Francis’s Story
Sister Francis Hughes Meets Pope John Paul 11 at the Apostolic Nunciature, Dublin on 29 September 1977: Patricia Clarke a past pupil of St Clare’s Children’s Home got the idea that the Pope would give Sr Francis an audience if he knew how good she was. So she gathered all the children to sign their names (the younger children did not the secret) and Patricia and Sr Peter wrote the letter and sent it to Rome, Vatican, Papal Nuncio here and Mons Feilhily – who was for Dublin Diocese.
We got an invitation back to be guests at the Apostolic Nunciature when the Pope arrived.
I.D Cards with photos and car registration etc. had to be supplied. Sr Francis knew nothing as yet. Then near the end of September the children held a Concert for the Sisters –which they often did – The two youngest presented Sr Francis with a letter – such a surprise for Sr Francis and indeed for all the Sisters.
On the morning of 29th while all here were walking to Phoenix Park, Patricia, Sr Francis and Peter drove with their special pass to the Garda Station, Nerfin Road. It was a short walk to the Nunciature a long Navan Road; we saw the helicopter descent and the Pope with his assistance walk along the path where we were lined up. – Some group had a foundation stone to be blessed so the Pope stopped. Sr Francis shook hands and said “you are very welcome to Ireland Your Holiness – Sr Peter placed her hand over his while Patricia took the photo- you can see how young and happy he looks in photo. After we walked to Phoenix Park and were in time for the Mass. It was a day to remember.