Pope Francis is recovering from abdominal surgery this week in the same hospital room where St. John Paul II was treated throughout his pontificate.
The Vatican said on June 8 that Francis is “in good general condition, alert and breathing naturally” one day after his three-hour surgery to treat an incisional hernia.
Pope Francis is expected to remain for several days in Gemelli University Hospital, located atop Monte Mario, the highest hill in Rome. The Vatican has canceled all of the pope’s scheduled audiences through June 18.
The pope’s hospital room is situated on the 10th floor of the sprawling polyclinic in a wing reserved for papal medical emergencies.
It is the same room where John Paul II stayed during many of his hospital treatments, including for a colon surgery in 1992 and his hospitalization after being shot in an assassination attempt in 1981.
St. John Paul II was admitted to the hospital so many times during his more than 25-year pontificate that he once referred to Gemelli as the “third Vatican” after Vatican City and Castel Gandolfo, the popes’ summer residence.
Family members and patients who come to the hospital’s chapel in search of consolation can now pray before a relic of St. John Paul II, located on the chapel’s right wall.
Pope Francis has been treated at the Gemelli Hospital three times in the past two years. The 86-year-old pope was hospitalized for four days in March for a lung infection and has also dealt this year with a recurrence of diverticulitis, a painful inflammation of bulges in the large intestine following his colon surgery in July 2021.
Religious leaders around the world have expressed their well-wishes and prayers for Pope Francis as he recovers in hospital.
Archbishop Timothy Broglio, the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, asked Catholics to continue to pray for the pope’s healing.
“As Pope Francis recovers from surgery, he is strengthened by faith in the healing power of our merciful God,” he said.
“Please keep Pope Francis and all those in the hospital in your prayers today and every day. Jesus always walks with us and is even closer whenever we need healing and comfort.”