Pope Francis stopped the car that was transporting him to see a young disabled woman and her family on the side of the road during his June 21 pastoral visit to the region of Calabria in southern Italy. A video posted online by a family in the southern Italian region of Calabria depicts the encounter with the Holy Father. The pope passed by the highway near the family’s house as he returned from Cassano allo Jonio, where he spoke out against the mafia.
The Vatican’s news.va website reported that family members waited with banners reading, "Please pope stop here to see an angel who has been waiting for you," and "Please come and bless little Roberta." When the pope saw their signs, he asked for his car to stop, and immediately went to greet and bless the people. Once the vehicle stopped, the Holy Father descended, approached the woman, who was laying on a moving stretcher, blessed her, kissed her and greeted her family and the children around her. The young woman — Roberta — is disabled and cannot travel far from her home, because she is dependent upon a machine to breathe, according to news.va. Her family voiced their gratitude to the Holy Father on Facebook. “I still can't believe it, thank you Holy Father...I thank the Pope for having given us a moment of great joy,” her sister, Pamela, wrote. “Today we can say that Christ stopped in Sibari in the vestments of Pope Francis,” added Ivan Vania, a friend who helped make the posters calling the pope’s attention. He added that “it was very emotional to see how Pope Francis greeted Roberta...there are gestures in life that are worth more than speeches, much more than you would think... Pope Francis is unique.”