Rome: Philomena Lee representing The Philomena Project attended an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis.
The Philomena Project calls on the Irish government to enact legislation to open up adoption records and reunite mothers separated from their children as a result of forced adoption. The project originated with the story of one woman’s 50-year search for her son, recently brought to the world stage via the Oscar and BAFTA nominated film Philomena, based on journalist Martin Sixsmith’s book. In 1952, when Philomena Lee became pregnant as a teenager in Ireland, she was sent to a ‘Mother and Baby Home’ to be taken care of. When her son was three years old, he was taken away, sold for adoption and sent to America. Although Philomena and her son looked for each other for many years, they were kept apart and were tragically never reunited. The Philomena Project will harness this increased awareness to the pain and loss which thousands of young women experienced over decades, to urge the state to release all information they have on these illicit adoptions, to assist in helping mothers and their children to find one another, and to create a place for these individuals to tell their stories in an effort to find closure.
Speaking after the audience with Pope Francis, Ms. Lee Said: “I am honored and delighted to have been in the presence of Pope Francis. As the film portrays, I have always put great faith in the Church and the good will to put the wrongs of the past right. I hope and believe that his Holiness Pope Francis joins me in the fight to help the thousands of mothers and children who need closure on their own stories.”
The audience with His Holiness Pope Francis was also attended by Ms Lee’s daughter Jane Libberton, as well as Steve Coogan, writer, producer and star of the film adaptation of Philomena’s story, which was recently nominated for four Oscars. The film Philomena which also stars Judi Dench has brought international acclaim and attention to the cause of reuniting these families. www.thephilomenaproject.org