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Letter from Pope Francis gives woman with cancer renewed strength to fight


Marianna Bonomo | Facebook

Silvia Lucchetti - published on 12/28/20

At a point when everything seemed hopeless, a letter from the Holy Father brought needed encouragement.

Not all the news this year is bad. On December 10, Palermo Today reported the moving story of Marianna Bonomo, a 39-year-old mother from Palermo (Sicily) suffering from stage IV non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Earlier this year, Marianna had reached the point where it seemed useless for her to continue fighting. But then a letter from the Holy Father gave her renewed hope.

Marianna’s lymphoma

This very agressive kind of cancer originates in the lymphatic system, and is more common among adults and the elderly, representing about 4% of all cancers in the United States.

When Marianna Bonomo began to think that there was no more hope for her, she turned to Pope Francis. She had lost confidence in the future and in the possibility of recovery.

She recounted on Facebook that in mid-July she wrote a letter to the Holy Father:

I wrote to him, with my heart in my hand and tears in my eyes, asking him to pray for me; that I would find the strength to accept and face the situation, and that I would receive the grace to raise my little children. Because entrusting myself to HIM was my only consolation.
Pope Audience
Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

The pope’s answer and the Holy Rosary

At that moment, she was convinced that she would not make it through the month of September. She begged Pope Francis to pray for her.

She received an answer through Mons. L. Roberto Cona, Assessor for General Affairs of the Vatican’s Secretary of State. She continues on Facebook,

Today, after this very tortuous journey, which saw me away from home for 110 days, after various therapies, opinions, trips, anxieties, fears … receiving this letter, the Holy Rosary blessed by the Holy Father, knowing that HE prayed for me … all this COMFORTS ME. It makes me believe in the future again.

The Holy Father’s reply gave Marianne great hope and encouraged her to continue her battle against the disease.

Treatment and fundraising

The advanced state of her cancer led to the use of a therapeutic protocol developed in a specialized center in Houston, Texas. She was hospitalized there for several months.

The huge expenses of her treatment have forced her husband Rosario to launch a fundraiser on the platform GoFundMe. Thanks to the generosity of almost 5,000 people, the family has raised more than $300,000 so far.

The treatment, which Marianna is continuing in Italy, has very high costs because the necessary medications are not covered by insurance and are not normally found in Italian hospitals. Her brother explains in the Palermo Today article, “Those who have this disease are forced to shell out tens of thousands of euros every month to buy the medication, which arrives here via Switzerland.”

The Holy Father’s letter

The letter sent by Pope Francis, which Marianna shared in a photograph on Facebook, reads:

His Holiness, who with paternal affection is particularly close to those who are tried by the suffering and difficulties of life, assures you of a remembrance to the Lord in prayer. While he exhorts you to abandon yourself fully in the arms of Divine Mercy, raising the eyes of your spirit to the Crucifix, aware that even sickness and suffering are inserted in Christ and find their ultimate meaning in Him, he imparts the requested Apostolic Blessing from his heart, (a blessing) which he willingly extends to your children, your spouse, your mother and your loved ones, accompanying it with the enclosed Rosary beads blessed by him and with the wish that the Lord may grant fortitude in faith and fruitful inner peace.

“Continue to pray for me”

From these words Marianna shared on Facebook, we can hear her initial discouragement. We also see the strength of the spark of light that was ignited in her heart and which is being nourished by faith:

Never give up. Always believe and trust in God. Continue to pray for me. After a long climb there has to be a path down.

We join in prayers for Marianna and her family as she continues to battle cancer.


Read more:
Friends use scissor lift to visit friend with cancer through the window


Read more:
See this beautiful gesture from local kids’ to a young neighbor with cancer

Health and WellnessPope Francis
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