Saturday, November 3, 2012

An Interview with Cardinal Fratelli, Part I

                              An Interview with Cardinal Fratelli ~


 “Good afternoon, Your Eminence, how are you?"

“I am very well, thank you.

“It’s the perfect day for this interview, don’t you think?

“Oh yes indeed."

“So, let’s get started. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?”

Well, I was born on April 6th, 1801. My mother’s name was Maria and my father’s was Francesco. It was my aunt Francine, who decided to name me “Angelo” after the angel who announced the birth of Christ to Mary.”     

 “So, were you raised very religious?”

I would say yes. My parents took me to Mass every day and when I turned 7, I began serving at the altar. It was delightful learning all the prayers and gestures.”

 “Is this when you wanted to be a priest?”

 Before I was 10 years old, I didn’t really think about much of anything like that. I didn’t get along with the other boys because I was overweight. They teased me. I think I just wanted to get away and our parish church provided a safe haven.”

 “How was your relationship with the priest there?”

Very good! Father Paolo was rather impressed with my intelligence and ability to learn. When some of the other altar-boys began taunting me…for the usual reasons…Father placed me in charge of them. They did not like this at all! I remember one of their parents complained that I was “too young” to be leading at the altar and Father Paolo replied: “If your son spent more time serving and less time fooling around, he would be up there instead."

 “Did you have any friends your age?”

Yes, sometimes I played with the postman’s son, his name was Vincent, but my best friend was Michele, a girl who lived next door to me. All the other boys left me alone when she was around. At least they were taught to be polite around a lady.”

 “How old were you then?”

I was about 9.”

“Is it true you were sweethearts?”

 Well, I would not say it like that. We cared for eachother and were just friends."

 “But she did kiss you on the cheek once?”


“Tell us about your parents. Didn’t they die when you were fairly young? How did this affect you?”

“Francesco died first, in a riding accident when I was 11 years old. It was horrible. Maria died two years later, they say of a broken heart, but I believe she was fighting an illness. I was so sad! My aunt, Francine took me in to live with my three cousins, Iona, Francesca and Philomena. But, I was still very lonely. They played many girlish games I didn’t care for. Michelle did visit- but to be honest, I was rather jealous that she played along with them.”

“What was Francine like? Did you two always have such a tense relationship?”

 Francine was loving and kind to me. She provided whatever I asked. We had a wonderful relationship. However, when I turned 14, she began urging for me to court Michele. I complied and dated Michele for a year but felt unhappy- as if I were being controlled.”

“Didn’t you have any feelings for Michele?”

I truly did. But I wanted to do things in my own time. The prospect of experiencing romance at such a young age made me awfully nervous. Back then, people married young so it wasn’t unusual… I just suppose I was different.”

“How were you different?”

 I didn’t want to marry. Since my parents died, I grew very religious and spent a lot of time at the church, working and helping with various things. I just didn’t think about marriage and Francine pushed it on me."

“How could she expect a 15 year old to think about marriage?"

 Our whole family thought about it. Iona married at age 16. She had her first baby while I was still living in Francine’s house. You must remember, my family had a lot of wealth and influence. Marriages amongst the aristocracy were seen as vital, especially when the couple was young… I suppose best before they got older and opinionated.”

“So, where did your vocation figure into all of this?”

I didn’t know when I was 17 and Michele, 15, Francine had already begun planning a wedding. I’d come home from morning Mass, filled with godly joy and told her that I wished to spend my life in the church. Merciful goodness, she was so upset! She told me that I was unsuitable for priesthood, that no seminary would take me until I turned 18 and that all the family’s hopes would be devastated. I don’t believe she meant to hurt me by saying these things. She was very angry.”

“What about Michele?”

She took it much better. After being upset for a few days, she came back and wished me well. I even told her that she wouldn’t have much trouble finding a husband as she was very beautiful.

“Did you ever regret not marrying her?”

For a short time…however, I’d fallen hopelessly in love with the Lord.”


  1. Character interviews are such a great excersize to flesh out back stories, personality quirks and the general voice of the character. This is great! I should do some character interviews :)

    1. Thanks! I appreciate your comment. I need to get my lazy behind in gear and write the third part to this interview...