Santiago, Chile, Aug 2, 2016 / 04:03 pm (CNA).- A prison inmate in Chile was surprised when she received a letter last week from Pope Francis, whom she had written a year ago asking for prayers. On July 27, local bishop Luis Infanti came to the prison in Coyhaique, located in the Aysén Region in southern Chile. He gave the letter to Nicol, a young mother who is being held there.

The story began last year, when the inmates at Coyhaique prison were visited by the Apostolic Nuncio, Ivo Scapolo, who proposed that she write a letter to the Pope that he would personally deliver to him. The young woman told the Holy Father about her conditions in prison and her sentence. She asked “that you pray a lot for me and for the people living here with me,” she told the diocese of Aysén's communications office. The letter was immediately sent to the Holy See and eventually, a reply came to the Nunciature.

Due to what the diocese described as unavoidable circumstances, the delivery of the message to Nicol was delayed for a year. In his letter, Pope Francis expressed his thanks to Nicol for “the trust you have shown me as well as for the prayers you are lifting up for me from your solitude, and that I need so much.” “For my part, I assure you that I am keeping you in my prayers, as well as your son Fernando, and I ask God to grant you the light of faith and the strength that comes from hope, and that you can experience the consolation of our merciful God in the closeness of the people you love,” the Holy Father wrote.

“Once again, I thank you for your letter. And, please, I ask you to keep praying for me. May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin care for you. Affectionately, Francisco,” the letter ends.

“I didn't think he was going to reply,” Nicol said, adding, “I would now like to tell him that I have my family, that I got married and I have a little two-month-old girl.”