The Pope has left Gemelli hospital after 10 days, with a smile and looking strong and happy. He spoke to the crowds waiting for him.
Pope Francis left the Gemelli Hospital at 08:43 a.m. on June 16, 2023, I.MEDIA was able to observe on the ground. The 86-year-old Argentine Pontiff, seated in a wheelchair, smiled and greeted people outside. He had been admitted to the Gemelli Hospital for a surgery on June 7 for an intestinal hernia with a risk of occlusion.
After 10 days in the hospital, Pope Francis returned to his living quarters at the residence of Santa Marta in the Vatican.
Early in the morning, a crowd of journalists, hospital employees and faithful had gathered outside the hospital. On his way out, the Holy Father was able to exchange a few words with some of them. “Still alive,” he told a journalist who asked how he was feeling. The Pope also expressed his “sorrow” at the tragic sinking of a migrant boat off the coast of Greece on the night of June 13-14, which has caused at least 78 dead while hundreds are still missing.
Among the staff surrounding Pope Francis was the Pontiff’s surgeon, Sergio Alfieri, who accompanied him back to his car, a Fiat 500L. The Pope rose from his armchair to sit in the front seat of the vehicle.
According to Vatican News, the Italian doctor said that the Pope had indeed “confirmed all the trips” ahead of him, meaning to Portugal for the World Youth Day in Lisbon, from August 2 to 6, and also to Mongolia, from August 31 to September 4.
“He will be able to cope with them better than before because now he will not have the discomfort of previous ailments. He will be a stronger Pope,” Alfieri said.
A couple more stops before returning home
Before returning to the Vatican, Pope Francis went to the Basilica of St. Mary Major to pray before the icon of the Virgin Salus Populi Romani. The Argentine Pontiff has been to this basilica more than a hundred times since the beginning of his pontificate. He prays there before all his trips abroad, and always comes back to thank the Virgin Mary on his return.
The Holy See Press Office also reported that at around 10 a.m., Pope Francis made a brief private visit to the sisters of the Institute of Mary Most Holy Child, who are currently meeting for their General Chapter. On arriving at the Vatican, he greeted the police and thanked them for their service.
No general audience next Wednesday
The Vatican has also announced that Pope Francis will lead the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. However, he will not be able to hold his usual general audience next Wednesday, in order to preserve his recovery.
Next week, the Pope may have several important meetings, including with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel.
This was Pope Francis’ third hospitalization since his election in 2013. On July 4, 2021, the Pontiff had general anesthesia for a major colon operation, forcing him to stay at the Gemelli Hospital for 10 days.
Then, last March, he was rushed to the same establishment due to an acute pneumonia.