The man who kissed Pope Francis on the forehead is called Philippe and is a beggar

The man who kissed Pope Francis on the forehead is called Philippe and is a beggar

The images of the man, who probably comes from Arras, in the North of France, have traveled around the world and Philippe was immediately recognized by many Italian volunteers who work every year in the Marian sanctuary of Lourdes and who have known him for years inasmuch as he asks for charity outside the sanctuaries.

In these hours everyone is wondering who he is. The man who kissed Pope Francis on the forehead during today’s audience in the Vatican is French, his name is Philippe Naudin, was born in 1971, has a mental disability due to meningitis contracted as a child and is a beggar. This was immediately recognized by many Italian volunteers who serve every year in the Marian sanctuary of Lourdes, a town perched on the Pyrenees that hosts five million pilgrims every year.

In fact, for years Philippe has often asked for alms near one of the main entrances to places of worship and, in the past, he did his utmost to lend a hand to the volunteers themselves in their activity of assistance to the sick and pilgrims. Well liked by everyone, the image of him while, surprisingly, snaps an affectionate kiss to Francesco has certainly not gone unnoticed.

Naudin suffered from meningitis shortly after birth and was paralyzed. In 1978, when he was seven years old, his mother took him to Lourdes on a pilgrimage from the diocese of Moulin and there, according to his account, he was miraculous: for the first time he got up from his wheelchair and said, on the return journey, the his first word: mom. Since then, Philippe has improved and managed to pursue his dream of becoming an actor, working in some plays.

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Philippe arrived in Rome with an organized group of actor Michale Lonsdale, known to the cinema audience for his poignant interpretation in the film “Men of God”, which tells of the massacre of some Catholic monks who did not want to leave an Algerian monastery and were killed by Islamic terrorists. Lonsdale is often in Lourdes and there, almost certainly, he met Philippe.

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