In a statement given after Wednesday’s General Audience in the Vatican, she said she felt “honoured” and “delighted” to have met Pope Francis. She said she no longer felt bitterness towards the Catholic Church: “After such a long time — Anthony would be 62 this year — so how could I go through a whole of life holding a grudge?” But she confessed that at the start of her ordeal she did feel hurt, sad and angry and added that yesterday’s brief encounter finally liberated her from an entire life of shame.
Philomena Lee is an elderly Irish lady. Back in 1952, when she was still just a teenager, she got pregnant out of wedlock. She was sent to a convent as many other teenage mothers were at the time and when her son was born she was forced to give him up. The child was sent to the United States, where Philomena went to search for him 50 years later, accompanied by journalist Martin Sixsmith. Now her story has been made into a film directed by Stephen Frears.
“Philomena” has been a box office smash hit and was nominated for an Oscar. The real Philomena told her story and spoke about her meeting with Pope Francis at a press conference held at Hotel Eden in Rome yesterday morning.