This was the second time Bouba, as he is known, has met Pope Francis, and both times, the pope has asked for his blessing
In greeting those in the first rows of Paul VI Hall at the February 19 general audience (reserved for those with various disabilities), Pope Francis’ catechesis on those who are meek of heart took visual form.
A man kissed the Holy Father on the forehead, pressing his nose against his head. The pope smiled at the expression of affection.
The man’s name is Philippe Naudin. He is an actor who suffered from meningitis as an infant. Naudin is known as Bouba, and he told Aleteia that this was the second time he’s met the pope, and that both times, Francis has asked for his blessing.
A miracle of Lourdes
Naudin recounts his life story:
Ten days after I was born I got meningitis, which left me paralyzed. I stayed hospitalized for 7 years. I couldn’t move or speak. In the summer of 1978, my mother registered me for a Lourdes pilgrimage organized by the Diocese of Moulins with the hope of obtaining a miracle from the Virgin Mary. I was then in a wheelchair.
There I was in Lourdes, 7 years old. I did not know what a miracle was. I just thought the Virgin was going to give me a gift. In front of the cave, I received her word in my child’s heart: “I will give you two gifts.” I then said to myself: “Wow, she will give me sweets and cakes.” That was not it! She said to me, “You are going to get up and walk, and then you will speak and give testimony of what I did for you.”
The night before we left, during the night, I asked a nurse to take me to the toilet. There, I left my wheelchair and came back on all fours. On the train back, I said my first word: “Mum!” My mother then began to hope that one day I could speak and walk.
On the next pilgrimage, my condition improved. I spoke, and walked better and better. The doctor at the Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital did not understand. For me, those were the two gifts the Virgin Mary had entrusted to me, in the bottom of my heart. Between 10 and 12 years old, I was able to go to school at Notre Dame de Lourdes school in Vichy.