Buenos Aires (CNN) – Maria Elena Bergoglio was in her home west of Buenos Aires last week when she heard the shocking news: Jorge Mario Bergoglio – her brother – was the new pope.
In the past, she had prayed that the cardinals wouldn’t pick him.
“During the previous conclave, I was praying for him not to be elected … because I didn’t want my brother to leave,” she told CNN en Español on Monday. “It’s a position that was a little selfish.”
But this time around, Bergoglio said she changed her tone.
“I prayed that the Holy Spirit would intervene and not listen to me. And it didn’t listen to me,” she said, laughing. “It did what it wanted.”
Last week, soon after the white smoke billowed out from the Sistine Chapel chimney, she heard her brother’s voice crackling through the telephone line.
“I almost died,” she said. “The telephone rang and my son answered. I heard him say, ‘ooooh, God.’ I couldn’t believe it.”
Her brother, who chose the name Pope Francis, told her not to worry and reassured her he was well – something she’s also seen watching his face as the events of recent days unfolded on television.
“I told him I wanted to hug him,” she said, “and he told me that we are already embracing from a distance, which is also something that I feel and that is real.”
Then, the pope told her to pass along his warm greetings to the rest of the family.
“He said, ‘I cannot call everyone. We are a very big family, so please send them my love. Because if I call everyone, it will empty the Vatican coffers,’ ” Bergoglio said. (source)