A woman who claims she was the childhood sweetheart of Pope Francis said he devoted his life to God after she refused his marriage proposal.
The woman, known only as Amalia, said Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s “proposal” came when they were both 12 years old and living in the Buenos Aires suburb of Flores. She told The Telegraph that he declared: “If I can’t marry you, I’ll become a priest.”
The new pontiff’s sister meanwhile told the paper that he had confided in her that he never wanted to become the head of the Catholic church. María Elena Bergoglio, who is 12 years younger than her 76-year-old brother, said he never wanted to be pope and now faced a lifetime of “infinite loneliness”.
“He didn’t want to be pope and when we chatted privately about it, we joked at the prospect and he would say ‘no, please no’,” she told the newspaper. But she said she was “totally proud that he is the new pope” because “having a brother who is a pope is a blessing from God”.
She added that her brother seemed pleased with his new role by his reaction on television. “The expression on his face spoke of a fullness of heart,” she said.
Miss Bergoglio said she did not know anything about her brother’s love life.
But, speaking from her home in Flores, Amalia claimed their childhood “romance” withered due to the opposition of her parents. “When we were young, he wrote me a letter and I didn’t reply to him. What I wanted was for him to disappear from the map. My father had hit me because I had dared to write a note to a boy.
“I have nothing to hide, as it was a thing between children and totally pure.”