The Pope is now the proud owner of this painting. It's the work of Argentine painter Mercedes Fariña. She flew in all the way from Buenos Aires to personally deliver the art piece to the Pope, following Wednesdays general audience. She's also from Flores, the same neighborhood Pope Francis grew up in.
"I introduced myself, and I told him that I was the painter that had drawn him next to the Basilica of St. Joseph in Flores. And, well, it was a very beautiful moment. I will cherish it forever.”
Mercedes has drawn five paintings of the Pope. The sixth one will feature the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires with the city's cathedral in the background. It will become the cathedral's official picture, and will have a charitable purpose.
"I reached an agreement with Caritas Buenos Aires, with Daniel Gasman, who's the interim director. A few months ago, that was Bergoglio, but he left that position when he became Pope. The agreement is that I will donate the majority of the profits that come from merchandizing the image, to Caritas Buenos Aires.”
Even the Buenos Aires city government has named her drawings of cultural interest for the city. Mercedes will also draw the Pope next to St. Therese of Lisieux, and the image of Patient Jesus. She hopes that her paintings can inspire others to get closer to the faith.
"The first hope, with regards to the Pope, is that the painting I gave him will be with him in his everyday life, accompanying him. My other hope, with regards to people in general, is that they'll have access to these images. That they'll bring spiritual joy and peace. I also hope it can trigger a connection between them and the Pope, who does so much good for so many people.”
Mercedes also expressed all of that in a letter she gave to the Pope. He had responded to her first letter a few months ago to thank her for her paintings and complement her work. For now, this painter is hoping her fellow Argentinian, Pope Francis, will reply once again.