“That confession on September 21, 1953… reoriented my life,” Pope Francis told a group of Missionaries of Mercy recently.

“To me it is a source of joy, the memory of that confession.”

The Missionaries of Mercy are a special team of “priests given special faculties to absolve even sins reserved to the Holy See.” They were commissioned by Pope Francis for the Year of Mercy to be “a living sign of the Father’s welcome to all those in search of his forgiveness.”

Regarding why the confession was so meaningful, Francis explained it wasn’t something the priest said, but how the priest treated him.

“What did the priest tell me? I don’t remember. I just remembered that he smiled at me and then I don’t know what happened.”

“It was just a father’s welcome,” he concluded.

Here’s a video of Pope Francis telling the story:

[See also: The Two Things Pope Francis Carries Everywhere in His Pockets]

[See also: President Obama Carries a Rosary from Pope Francis in His Pocket]

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