Detained Senator Leila De Lima said she is “deeply touched” by the “beautiful rosary” sent to her by Pope Francis.
“I cannot thank Pope Francis enough for his thoughtfulness. I’m deeply, deeply touched by the Pope’s gesture. This gift will constantly remind me that, despite the political persecution I am experiencing right now at the hands of a vengeful President. I should keep the faith and fight tirelessly for the welfare of the Filipino people,” De Lima said during the mass at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center.
The senator said that the PNP Chaplain on Nov. 22 personally handed the rosary from Pope Francis to De Lima, which was coursed through the Papal Nuncio.
“Last Nov. 22, the PNP Chaplain personally handed to me a beautiful rosary from Pope Francis as well as the latter’s message coursed through the Papal Nuncio,” De Lima said.
“According to the Chaplain, Pope Francis was able to read my letter and assured that he is praying for me,” she added.
On August, in a handwritten letter she sent, De Lima requested Pope Francis for prayers for herself and for the Filipino people, especially for the thousands of extrajudicial killings victims in the country.
“Papa Francesco, if I may be granted one wish, I hope that you will say a prayer for me and the Filipino people. Please bless me so I can have the strength to continue the fight against the injustice that is happening not only to me, but to thousands of Filipinos who are victims of extrajudicial killing,” De Lima said in her letter.
“I do not know when I will regain my freedom. Only faith sustains me through this nightmare. Please include me and the Philippines in your prayers,” she added.
The full text of De Lima’s message to Pope Francis in English, dated 15 August 2017, is as follows:
Dear Papa Francesco,
I am Leila de Lima, a senator from the Philippines and a political prisoner who has been incarcerated for the past 173 days, by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The international community has been appalled by the brazen violation of human rights since Duterte waged his war on drugs.
This August 27, I will turn 58 years old. Life’s journey has had its ups and downs, but I never imagined that my birthday would be spent inside a jail.
Papa Francesco, if I may be granted one wish, I hope that you will say a prayer for me and the Filipino people.
Please bless me so I can have the strength to continue the fight against the injustice that is happening not only to me, but to thousands of Filipinos who are victims of extra judicial killing.
I do not know when I will regain my freedom. Only Faith sustains me through this nightmare.
Please include me and the Philippines in your prayers.
God bless you Papa.
My heartfelt thanks,
Leila M. de Lima