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Divine calling: Vatican leaves phone message for Massachusetts woman over death of son

  • EricNicolo.jpg

    Stephany Nicolo's 25-year-old son, Eric, pictured here, died on May 14, 2014. (FoxNews.com)

  • StephanyNicolo.jpg

    Stephany Nicolo, left, said she called the Vatican in the days following her son's death. She said her phone call was returned early Friday morning. (FoxNews.com)

  • EricNicolo3.jpg

    Nicolo's son, Eric, is seen here in an undated photo. (FoxNews.com)

She called Pope Francis, and believes he answered.

A Massachusetts woman, grieving the sudden death of her 25-year-old son, received an unexpected voicemail last week: a message from the Vatican offering condolences over the loss of her child. 

Stephany Nicolo, of Wakefield, Mass., told FoxNews.com that a message was left on her cellphone Friday at 6:30 a.m. from a man -- speaking in accented English -- who identified himself as a representative from the Vatican and says the pope sends a "big hug and a blessing" to Nicolo, whose son died May 14 from an epileptic seizure. 

The voice of an older man, who Nicolo believes is the Pope, can be heard in the background at the beginning of the recording, which was obtained by FoxNews.com.

Click here to listen to the phone message

"We [will] try to talk to you again," the Vatican representative says in the 33-second message. 

A Vatican spokesman could not immediately confirm if it was indeed His Holiness in the background on Nicolo's message, but she is taking it on faith.

"I want him to know I love him," Nicolo said of Pope Francis. "He has helped me so much in my time of grief. There are no words to describe what this phone call has done for me."

Nicolo, distraught over her son Eric, called the Vatican in the days following his death.

"I was very, very upset and I said, 'I don’t believe in God anymore,' " Nicolo, 58, who visited the Vatican in 2007, told FoxNews.com. "Why would he take my son?"

Nicolo said she was "sobbing uncontrollably" when she left her name and telephone number with a Vatican representative, never thinking her phone call would ever be returned.

On Friday, weeks after Nicolo made the call, she awoke at 6:40 a.m. to find a missed call and voice message on the cellphone sitting in her living room.

"I missed it by 10 minutes," she said. "I couldn't believe it. I had to play it several times." 

"I’ve always loved my faith, but when your child is taken, you can't help but question it," said Nicolo, who described herself as a devout Catholic. "It renewed my faith and belief in God."

After receiving comfort from the Holy See, her faith has been restored.

"I know my son is at peace," she said. "Thank you, Pope Francis, for reassuring my son is at peace, and showing my faith just got stronger. After all he is the Vicar of Christ."

Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff, was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was elected to the papacy on March 13, 2013, following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. 

The 77-year-old pontiff chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. He was first ordained a Catholic priest in 1969. From 1973 to 1979, he served as Argentina's Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus. In 1998, he became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires and was made a Cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

The Pope has earned a reputation for humility and accessibility, eschewing the Popemobile and reportedly going out at night to feed the homeless around Rome.

At St. Joseph's Parish in Wakefield, a suburb of Boston, Father Ronald Barker said he was moved when Nicolo played the message for him.

"I told her, 'It looks like the Pope got your message!' " said Barker, who has served as pastor since 2005.

"It said so much to me about the Pope," he said. "He really thinks about simple things like this." 

"It touched me," he said. 

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