Pietro Schilirò is the Italian child who was healed by God after the prayer of his parents and relatives to Louis and Zelie Martin. This healing has been officially recognized as a miracle, and it led to the beatification of the Martin spouses in 2008. On March 29, 2014 Pietro, now 11, met Pope Francis in Rome. Here is his first-person testimony:
When I learned that the Pope was to meet with deaf people and their families, I asked Mom if we could go there too. We decided to write to the Pope to tell him that we would be very happy to greet him personally, but if that was not possible, we would be happy to receive his blessing even from afar.
In St. Peter's Square, we lined up with all the other deaf people and their families. It moved me to see other people who were deaf like me. Some had trouble speaking; this touched me so that I had the desire to learn sign language, that I might be closer to them.
Suddenly, my Dad’s phone started to ring. We were told that Pope Francis would meet us personally at the end of the audience. We were very touched!
After about 1 ½ hours, the Pope came in amid songs of joy and hands raised in a sign of salute (this is how the deaf applaud). After some testimonies, the Pope spoke to us.
Then the Pope came down to the crowd to greet the people who were in front, including us! I was very excited and I asked Mom and Dad what I should say, because I could not find the words.
Pope Francis approached; he was close to me! Mom and Dad greeted him, and Mom told him that we pray for him. Then he kissed me, and I burst into tears! I leaned against him, and my hearing aid fell to the ground. Then the Pope bent down to pick it up! Dad told the Pope that I was healed by a miracle granted by the Lord through the intercession of Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, and he was very happy to hear that. He smiled and said, “I know that now there has been another miracle that is being studied. I am very happy!” And with a big smile he said, “Go now, and do not cry any more.” And with a big hug, we said goodbye to Pope Francis.
Then, before waving to everyone and leaving the room, he looked at me. With his fingers he gave me the ‘OK’ sign! I still felt close to tears, but I was so happy because of the Pope’s embrace. For me it was like meeting Jesus! I will never forget it.”