A nun in Italy went to the hospital last week after she experienced stomach pains. It turns out she was actually pregnant, delivering a 9-pound baby boy she named Francesco, after Pope Francis.
"I did not know I was pregnant. I only felt a stomach pain," Roxana Rodriguez, the 31-year-old native of El Salvador, told Italian news agency ANSA from her hospital bed in Rieti. Other new mothers at the hospital started a clothing and donation drive for the nun, who had no clue that she was pregnant. Rodriguez gave birth on Wednesday, according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
Rodriguez belongs to a convent in Campomoro known as Little Disciples of Jesus, which is in charge of a home for the elderly.
The unexpectedly pregnant nun, who took vows of chastity, said she would take care of the baby. Her fellow nuns at the convent said they were “very surprised” that one of their own was pregnant.
Rodriguez insisted that she was confused about being pregnant and suggested that she didn’t have sex.
“It’s not possible. I’m a nun,” she told the hospital, the New York Post reported.
Don Fabrizio Borello, a local pastor, said he took the nun at her word about not knowing she was pregnant.
"I guess she's telling the truth when she says she arrived at the hospital unaware of the pregnancy," Borello said, according to the BBC.
A spokesman for the local bishop, who apparently did not think the birth was an immaculate conception, said the nun should not continue her duties after getting pregnant.
“It would be preferable that she now lead a secular life with her baby, away from religious institutions,” he said, according to the Post.
The pregnant nun named her baby Francesco, after Pope Francis. News of the birth led hordes of journalists to descend on Rieti, a city with a population of 47,700. The city’s mayor urged the media to respect the nun’s privacy.