Pope describes learning at age 13 to deprive himself for poor in private letter to friend

Even at age 13, Pope Francis was concerned for the poor.

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano on Wednesday published a letter Francis sent to a fellow priest in 1990, in which he recounted all the things he learned during the sixth grade year he spent studying at a Salesian school in his native Buenos Aires.

The letter is remarkable in that the then-Rev. Jorge Mario Bergoglio remembered the names of all his priestly instructors from four decades previous.

But more importantly, he remembered particular lessons, including the night in October 1949 during which he learned about death, the night he started saying his prayers before bed (and never stopped). And he recounted having learned that year "to deprive myself of certain things and give them to people poorer than me."