Seeing Pope Francis like icing on the cake for St. Cloud mother and daughter

Categories: Around the Diocese


Marie Kigin, left, and her daughter Sara, members of St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in St. Cloud, will travel to Washington D.C. to be on the west front lawn of the U.S. Capitol during the Holy Father’s Sept. 24 address to Congress. (Photo courtesy of Marie Kigin)

By Dianne Towalski
The Visitor

When Marie Kigin heard that Pope Francis would be stopping in Washington, D.C., as part of his September trip to the United States, she started making travel plans.

Even if there was only a slight possibility she and her daughter, Sara, could see the pope, she wanted to be there. And the fact that she has relatives in the area just made her decision easier.

“Because we already have a place to stay and transportation in D.C., it just made real sense for us to go,” Marie said. “We actually planned our trip before we even got the tickets.”

Marie, a member of St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud, was following updates about the pope’s schedule on the Internet when she saw a note about how to get tickets for the west front lawn of the U.S. Capitol during the Holy Father’s Sept. 24 address to Congress. She learned that each member of Congress was given 50 tickets to invite people from their districts.

So she emailed Sixth District Rep. Tom Emmer and followed up with a phone call.

“When I told [Sara] that we have the tickets to go, she just screamed. She had tears of joy rolling down her face,” Marie said after hearing from Emmer’s office.

Sara, who was born with Down syndrome, has been through some difficult medical problems throughout her life, Marie said. Sara most recently was cured of chronic hepatitis C that she contracted while receiving treatment for leukemia as an infant.

Sara’s health is good now and for the 29-year-old and her mom, seeing the pope is like the icing on the cake.

“It has been through the power of prayer and [our] love for God that has gotten us to [this point],” Marie said. “So I can’t think of a better way to celebrate her good health than to see Pope Francis.”

Sara, who works at Talahi Nursing Home in St. Cloud through Opportunity Services, said she’s excited to see the pontiff, even if it is only the event broadcast on a jumbotron screen. Her mom told her, “We probably won’t be up close and personal, but we will be in his presence and you will be able to see him.” And that’s enough, but you never know.

They’re excited about the possibility of him coming out to visit the crowd. “Sara is so excited to see Pope Francis and, who knows, maybe he will see her,” Marie said.

“All of these things are falling into place because of our faith, because of God,” she said. “It’s just beyond words to say how we feel.”