Pope Francis to reunite with cousin on visit to Thailand

FILE PHOTO: A picture of Pope Francis and Sister Ana Rosa Sivori is seen at the St. Mary School in Udon Thani province, Thailand, September 24, 2019. Picture taken September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Jiraporn Kuhakan

In a remote Catholic school in Thailand, Sister Ana Rosa Sivori, 77, kneels in a chapel to pray at the beginning of the school day.

The Catholic nun is also counting down the days when she will be reunited with her cousin, Pope Francis. 

Or, as she calls him, Jorge. They grew up together in Argentina.

Sister Sivori, who has lived in Thailand for more than 50 years, will travel with Pope Francis when he visits from Nov. 20 to 23. 

“For me, it’s a pleasure that he’s coming … I never thought that he will be coming to Thailand,” the soft-spoken nun told Reuters in an interview. 

“I’m happy for the people. I want the people to see him, to be close to him.” 

The cousins, whose grandfathers were brothers, grew up in a big Catholic family in Argentina. 

Sivori said they weren’t close as children, since Jorge Mario Bergoglio – as the Pope was known then – was six years older than she. 

She joined the Catholic ministry young, and her calling as a missionary brought her to Thailand, where she has lived since 1966 and worked in schools across the country.

Now, she is a vice principal at St. Mary’s School in the northeastern province of Udon Thani, about 600 km (370 miles) from Bangkok, the capital.