Tuesday the 13th of April

...to the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Leading surgeon shows an artistic touch with statue tribute to pope

A medical pioneer has presented Pope Francis with a bronze bust in the Holy Father’s likeness.

Professor Nadey Hakim, a top British-Lebanese transplant surgeon, met with the pope at his General Audience and presented him with the bust. Prof Hakim, a Catholic who enjoys sculpting in his spare time, said he was very fortunate to be given the opportunity thanks to Cardinal Nichols and Mgr John Armitage, the Rector of Walsingham.

“The meeting with the Pope was great,” he told The Universe. “I had a good conversation with His Holiness and was delighted that he liked the portrait.”

Prof Hakim, who was part of the team of surgeons who performed the world’s first hand transplant in France and the first pancreas transplant in London, spoke to Pope Francis in Italian. He told the Holy Father that he hoped he liked the bronze bust, which he had been commissioned to sculpt by Mgr Armitage, who accompanied him on his visit to Rome.

“His Holiness looked very happy to see the bust and asked whether he could keep it at the Vatican,” said Prof. Hakim. “Initially the intention was to have it blessed and returned to Walsingham but of course my dream came true by having him ask for it to stay in Rome.

“I also thanked him on behalf of Mgr John for making Walsingham a basilica.”

• Read more about Professor Nadey Hakim in next week’s Universe, when he speaks to Nick Benson about his faith; his work as a pioneering transplant surgeon; his hobbies, including sculpting; and his meeting with Pope Francis.

Picture: Professor Nadey Hakim and Mgr John Armitage talk to Pope Francis about the bust.