(Vatican Radio) Nineteen inmates of the Italian prisons of Pisa and Pianosa were received in a private meeteing by Pope Francis on Wednesday morning , 19th February, in the Casa Santa Marta , before the weekly General Audience . The Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano reported the news that the Pope prayed with them and blessed them before the image of " Our Lady who unties knots ," especially dear to him. Then he greeted each of them and listened to them one by one. He shared words of mercy and forgiveness in particular, for one inmate who gave him a personal letter.
The inmates were on a spiritual pilgrimage to Rome and were accompanied by two chaplains. They met with Pope Francis after attending an early morning Mass celebrated by Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri in the Vatican Grottoes. Informed of their presence , the Pope wanted to personally meet them and welcomed them into his home, at 9 am. Also on hand for the forty-five minute long encounter were the director of the penitentiary Pianosa , magistrates, and prison guards.
Archbishop Baldisseri described the meeting as " beautiful and moving ."
Text from Vatican Radio website