On December 8, 2017, after completing the traditional visit to the statue of the Immaculate Conception on Piazza d’Espagna in Rome, Pope Francis stopped off at the Church of Saint Andrea delle Fratte, where Alphonse Ratisbonne had his conversion experience.

pope ratisbonne

Pope Francis prayed in the church before the image of the Virgin Mary as she appeared before Ratisbonne one hundred and seventy five years ago, on January 20, 1842. At that moment, in the words of the Pope, “from being an atheist and enemy of the Church, he became a Christian”. Even more so, following his conversion, Alphonse became a Jesuit priest and missionary and ended up cofounding the religious Congregation dedicated to Our Lady of Sion.