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Pope Francis consoles parents who lost two daughters in car accident

Sisters Antonella and Lorena died in a car accident in Rome only days before Christmas.

Antonella and Lorena's mother
"My daughter was driving, the older one, who was 23 years old. The last message she sent me was “Mom, we are driving back.” And then the worst thing in the world happened, that I don't wish upon anyone, not even my worst enemy, they come to you and say “your daughters were in an accident.” And then an hour later, “they both died instantly. They told me: Mom, you are working a lot. And I said: don't worry, don't worry, just study, your mom doesn't worry, she's not tired. And they would say, OK mom, when I graduate then you can relax, because they would always worry so much about their mom."

From one day to the next, Maria and her husband Luis were left without their two daughters. They are from Ecuador and Bolivia, but have lived in Rome for years. After bring torn by grief for several weeks, they came to the Vatican to see the Pope, who listened to them attentively.

Antonella and Lorena's father
"The Pope was dismayed the moment he heard, and spent time looking at the pictures and blessed them."

-"I pray for you in this pain, and I pray for your daughters."
-"Today marks one month."

"He gave us good advice, that we find strength in prayer, in our despair. And that we must be courageous to honor these two who are now in heaven. That we need to be strong, and acknowledge that here we are only passing through, that we are not the owners of anything."

Antonella and Lorena's mother
"I, truly, I began to cry because it is exactly a month since we lost our girls. And of course he was also moved by my cries, and he blessed me. It's as they say, you need to be strong to keep living."

Luis and Maria migrated to Italy in the 90's and built their life here. They say that the support of the Latin American community in Rome has been important in helping them through these hard times and overcoming their pain.