March 25, 2023

A White House Doctor Gets the Chance to Meet Pope Francis

Dr. Ronny Jackson, the president’s physician for more than 12 years, never expected to meet Pope Francis during his visit to Washington D.C., but he did. Dr. Jackson was among a group of medical professionals who met with Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday morning at the Vatican Embassy in Washington D.C., where they had breakfast with His Holiness and discussed healthcare reform efforts around the world before presenting him with a check for $5 million dollars from Americares, an international relief organization that provides medicine, supplies and humanitarian aid in 180 countries around the world including Syria and Haiti after natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew or Maria devastate these areas.It’s always an honor to share time with him, Dr. Jackson told the Washington Post . He is very engaging, he listened intently and his message was mostly on healthcare.The final blessing was given by Pope Francis who asked the group of doctors present at Tuesday morning’s meeting to pray for him.It’s really humbling that you spend so much time with the president and give him such good care, Jackson said. I guess you know you’re in the room when he wants to ask your opinion on something given all that expertise.The pope’s given name is Joseph, but he prefers his middle name of Francis because it honors Saint Francis of Assisi. If Dr. Jackson had known this, he would have given the pontiff a rosary.

I didn’t know he was so close to Saint Francis.The $5 million dollar check given to the Pope will be dispersed by Americares to those most in need of medical care, supplies, and/or infrastructure rebuilding after a hurricane or natural disaster. To date, Americares has provided over $5 billion dollars in aid all across the world.Pope Francis gave the group of healthcare providers a rare set of custom-made rosary bracelets, which were made by Sister Rani Maria, an Indian nun who makes these handmade bracelets to raise money for needy families.

Dr. Jackson’s meeting with Pope Francis was postponed after the White House learned the pontiff would be visiting Cuba this week. Although Jackson’s meeting with His Holiness was supposed to take place last Friday, the Vatican asked that the doctors’ visit be postponed until this Tuesday.

Dr. Jackson has been in President Trump’s good graces ever since he declared him in excellent overall health . I told you he has incredibly good genes, Trump said of his doctor’s assessment. If I wasn’t beautiful, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now.

When the president learned Jackson might not make it of his meeting with Pope Francis because of a scheduling conflict, Trump was understanding. That’s more important to me than him seeing the pope, Mr. Trump said on Friday . I would never do that to him.

This wasn’t Jackson’s first visit to the Vatican. He traveled there as part of a U.S. Navy trip with President George W. Bush and CEO of AOL Steve Case in 2008, however he stayed across the street from where Pope Francis was staying because there’s a rule about flying on airplanes after 9 p.m.,Jackson said.

It’s been a few years since Pope Francis was elected the 266th Pontiff of the Catholic Church after his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI retired because he could no longer cope with the physical and psychological demands of being pope. In that short amount of time, Pope Francis has caused quite a stir because of his views on homosexuality and abortion as well as how he leads the Catholic Church.