A small convent of five Carmelite nuns in Lucena, Spain missed an unexpected phone call on New Year's Eve. Fortunately, the caller -- Pope Francis -- left a message on their answering machine.
The nuns shared the pope's voice-mail message with Spanish radio network COPE, affiliated with the Catholic Church in Spain. Click -- here -- to listen to the audio of the papal voice-mail in Spanish.
In the voice-mail, Pope Francis asks:
"What are the nuns doing that they can't answer? I am Pope Francis, I wish to greet you in this end of the year, I will see if I can call you later. May God bless you!"
Why didn't the nuns answer? They were busy praying when the pope phoned. Sister Adriana, the prioress, told the Spanish radio network "we never thought the pope would remember to think of us." The sisters, three of whom are Argentinian like the Holy Father, were unsure how to respond to the missed phone call, so they asked their local bishop and tried to phone the pope back, but were unable to reach the leader of the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis rang the convent again that day and this time, the nuns picked up. With the call on speaker phone, Sister Adriana said "The message from Pope Francis was to never lose hope, because sadness leads to spiritual sloth and hopelessness."