Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 22 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Maurice and the Theban Legion
home iconChurch
line break icon

Pope’s missionary nun-cousin translating for him in Thailand

Dolors Massot - published on 11/20/19

Sister Ana Rosa Sivori is a Salesian who has spent half a century educating girls in Asia

When in 1966, a young Argentinean nun packed her bags for her new mission in Thailand, she could never have imagined what the future held. Now more than half a century later, Sister Ana Rosa Sivori has spent her life as a missionary in this far-off land. Now she is welcoming her second cousin for a visit and is ready to serve as his translator. Her second cousin, though, is better known than she is: He’s Pope Francis.

The Salesian nun made her vows in 1965; leaving for Thailand meant leaving her family behind, though she would stay in touch via mail, sending news of her adventures in Asia, and Christmas greetings.

Among those she would write was always her cousin Jorge … Jorge Bergoglio. “He was a very studious boy, and a great lover of soccer,” his cousin — five years younger than him — recounts. “Our family is very united and in Argentina, we were always together at family events.”

Her cousin Jorge (his maternal last name is Sivori, like hers) was ordained a priest and later a bishop and then made a cardinal; and during all of that time Sister Ana Rosa was living the life of a missionary, dedicated to educating girls in one of the Salesian schools of Thailand.

On March 13, 2013, she was praying for the Church like everyone else, asking the Holy Spirit to pour down his grace on the cardinals gathered in conclave.

When Cardinal Tauran announced that “habemus papam” and went on to declare that the new Successor of Peter was Jorge Mario Bergoglio, she couldn’t have been more surprised.

But even though his life as Pope Francis is decidedly more intense, these two missionary souls are still in contact through telephone and letter.

Sister Ana Rosa is cheerful and jovial, with a quick sense of humor that is much like her cousin’s. The Sivori blood of Italian descendants is notable: Sister’s dad and the pope’s mom are first cousins.

She was able to see her cousin in Rome on her way back from a trip home to visit the family. At that time, she told a Thai television network: “He has a special character. He is very humble, and lives an austere life. He’s not arrogant. What he teaches is what he lives.”

When the Holy Father’s trip to Thailand and Japan was confirmed, Sister Ana Rosa was told that Francis wanted her to be his translator. Could such a thing have occurred in even her wildest dreams 53 years ago!?

“The pope suggested to the organizers that I be his translator during his trip to Thailand,” she explained to the EFE Agency. “For me it was a wonderful surprise and an honor.”

In her translation work, she will be assisted by Spanish-speaking religious and professors from the University of Chulalongkorn.

This is the pope’s 32nd Apostolic Journey; he will be in Thailand until 23 November and then Japan until 26 November.

Read more:
Pope to Japanese: With you, I pray nuclear weapons will never be used again

Pope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.