An Italian nun has given birth to a baby boy after claiming she had no idea she was pregnant.
The nun, Sister Roxanna, 33, from a convent near Rieti in central Italy, was rushed to hospital last week after collapsing and complaining of stomach pains.
She was quoted in Italian media as calling the boy “a gift from God,” and said she was naming him Francesco (Francis) after the Pope. Like Francis I, Sister Roxanna originally hails from Latin America: He is from Argentina and she is from El Salvador.
Residents living near to the “Little Disciples of Jesus” convent have begun collecting donations and clothes for the baby; Sister Roxanna is reportedly planning to keep the child.
According to the Italian news agency ANSA, Sister Roxanna’s fellow nuns were “very surprised” at the birth.
Roxanna only took her vows in September, and there is no suggestion that the baby’s birth is miraculous. The mother reportedly wrote a letter of apology to the head of her order, identifying the father as a man from her native El Salvador, but not naming him.
Father Benedetto Falcetti, a priest at the nearby St. Michael’s church in Rieti, was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying, “It all happened last spring, around March or April time when she was back in El Salvador to get her passport renewed. She has not said who the father is, but I understand he is, shall we say, an old flame of hers from when she was younger. At some stage, I expect she will tell the father that he has a son.”
The same report quoted an unnamed nun from the convent as saying, “What she has done is not right at all. She has betrayed her vows. She will not be coming back here.”