Catholics in Thailand are celebrating the official announcement of the first papal visit in 35 years, but one 77-year-old nun in a far-flung corner of the country has a connection that makes the occasion particularly special.
Pope Francis is due to arrive in Thailand on Nov. 20 for a four-day visit, the first leg of an Asia trip that will also take him to Japan, Catholic officials announced Friday.
The pontiff’s arrival will lead to a reinvigoration of belief among the nearly 400,000 faithful here. But for Sister Ana Rosa Sivori, it also means the pleasure of a family reunion.
At St. Mary’s girls’ school in Udon Thani, about 355 miles northeast of Bangkok, the pupils have only recently realized their unassuming vice principal’s connection to the pope.
Sivori, originally from Buenos Aires in Argentina, came to Thailand in 1966 and has worked as a missionary in several parts of the country. She shares a great-grandfather with Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who, six years ago, became Pope Francis. So, she and the pontiff are second cousins.
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