A teenager who asked the Pope to pray for two ill children has spoken of her excitement at receiving a response from the Vatican.
Former Towers School student Ellie Crook has a mild form of autism, which she says can make it difficult for her to understand other people’s feelings at times.
But she was moved to ask the pontiff to pray for the two youngsters, including child of courage Maddie Warnock who helped to switch on Ashford’s Christmas lights last year.
She soon received a response from the offices of the Secretariat of State at the Vatican.
The 18-year-old, from Kennington, said: “I walked in through my front door to check the post and one of the letters had the apostolic nunciature markings of the Vatican.
“I can’t find the words to describe how excited I was. I was so happy. I never expected I would get a response in a million years.”
Miss Crook’s letter asked Pope Francis to remember in his prayers Maddie, 6, who has leukaemia and was chosen by the staff on Padua Ward at the William Harvey Hospital to help turn on the town’s lights.
She also asked for prayers to be said for Stacey Mowle, 7, from Gravesend, who has Neuroblastoma cancer, and whose parents are trying to raise £500,000 to send her for potentially life-saving treatment in the USA.
In the response Miss Crook received, Monsignor Peter Wells spoke for the Pope, including a rosary and a picture of Pope Francis.
Monsignor Wells said: “The Holy Father was pleased to receive your kind letter and artwork, and he has asked me to thank you.
“His Holiness will remember your friends Stacey and Maddie in his prayers. He invokes upon them the healing love of our Lord Jesus Christ and he sends his blessing.”