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Rome Reports

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A healthy Pope Francis turns 81 years old on Sunday

Pope Francis is turning 81 years old and, despite his age, not slowing down. At the end of November, he took his 21st international trip and will embark on another journey in January to Chile and Peru. 

What's the secret behind your energy?

“Do you mean 'what's my drug?' That's what you really want to know. The drug! Mate tea helps me.”

Jokes aside, even though he appears full of vitality on the outside, the pope says his papacy will be brief. On his 80th birthday, he said there's one word that continues to gain ground in his life.

“For some days now, I have a word in my head; an ugly expression: old age. It is scary, to say the least. When one sees it as a stage of life to give joy, wisdom and hope, though, one starts to live again.”

Thus, Pope Francis confronts his 81st year in enviable health. He wakes up at 4:30 a.m., prays four hours a day and works at least nine. His daily schedule is even more intense on trips. 

At the beginning of his papacy, he had to cancel some Audiences due to health reasons, but it seems he has grown accustomed to the pace of life since being elected pope. 

Pope Francis suffers from sciatica and knee problems. He must wear orthopedic shoes but, despite the lung operation he underwent in his youth, he shows no signs of fatigue. In fact, it seems if there's anything this pope has more than enough of, it's energy.