Pope Francis suffers from sciatica

by / Monday, 21 September 2015 /

Pope Francis suffers from sciatica

Francis rises on his own at around 4:30 a.m. and spends the next two hours praying, meditating on the Scripture readings for the day and preparing his morning homily. He delivers it off-the-cuff at the 7 a.m. Mass in the chapel of the Vatican’s Santa Marta hotel where he lives. After Mass, Francis greets the faithful in the atrium outside the chapel, then walks a few meters into the hotel dining room for breakfast. He often will have fresh-squeezed orange juice (a papal indulgence since other diners are served only packaged OJ) and membrillo, a gelatinous paste made from quince that is popular in Argentina.

After breakfast, Francis takes Elevator A up to the second floor to his home: Santa Marta’s Room 201, though he has actually converted the entire second floor of the hotel wing into a home office. He then gets to work, either staying in the hotel or heading to the Apostolic Palace if he has formal audiences. Occasionally he takes a break to recite the rosary. After a 1 p.m. lunch in the dining room, Francis takes a siesta of about 40 minutes to an hour and resumes working into the evening, often taking care of correspondence. He tries to get in an hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament before dinner, though he confesses to sometimes falling asleep while praying.

Dinner in the dining room is self-service, cafeteria-style at 8 p.m. and Francis has been known to microwave his own food if it’s not warm enough. Before taking the elevator back upstairs, he will be sure to thank the Swiss Guard, Vatican gendarme and reception desk clerk on duty in the hotel lobby, and say good-night. He’s in bed by 9 p.m., reads for an hour and is asleep — “like a log” — for the next six hours or so.

Francis had part of his right lung removed after a respiratory infection when he was 19. He wears orthotic shoes and suffers from sciatica but otherwise appears in good health, except for a few aches and pains. He gained several kilos (pounds) after his election but Vatican doctors have reportedly encouraged him to cut back

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