While everyone has been discussing the pope's comments on homosexuality, my attention was drawn to something else he said while chatting with reporters. The NY Times:
[Pope] Francis also commented on the case of Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, who was suspended as an accountant in the Vatican after being arrested in June for his alleged involvement in a plot to bring 20 million euros from Switzerland into Italy with the help of a former secret service agent and a financial broker, both of whom were also arrested.
Francis said, jokingly, that the monsignor had not been jailed “because he resembles the Blessed Imelda,” using an expression that means “he’s no saint,” The National Catholic Reporter reported.
In grade school, we had a Sister Mary Imelda and I'm sure there have been many Sister Imeldas, but I knew nothing about Blessed Imelda, nor have I ever heard the expression used by the pope. So off to Wikipedia I went, where I found quite a story:
Imelda was born in 1322 in Bologna, the only child of Count Egano Lambertini and Castora Galuzzi. Her parents were devout Catholics and were known for their charity and generosity to the underprivileged of Bologna. As a very young girl, Imelda had a burning desire to receive Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. On her fifth birthday, she requested this privilege. However, Church custom at the time was that a person did not receive his or her First Holy Communion until age 12. Imelda was sorely disappointed but knew the time would come soon enough. She would sometimes exclaim: "Tell me, can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die?"
As time went by, her desire for the Blessed Sacrament grew, and she loved Christ more than ever. To show this love, she joined a cloistered Dominican community at age nine in Valdipietra, near Bologna . (It was unusual at the time for a girl her age to enter the convent). There it would be easier to wait for her First Communion, in deep prayer and conversation with God.
On May 13, the day of the vigil of the Ascension, in 1333, she finally got her wish. As she knelt in prayer the "Light of the Host" was witnessed above her head by the Sacristan, who then fetched the Priest so he could see. After seeing this miracle, the Priest felt he had to give Blessed Imelda her Holy Communion. Immediately after receiving the Holy Eucharist, Imelda fell to the floor and died in complete ecstasy. Her remains are in Bologna, Italy, at the Church of San Sigismondo, beneath the wax effigy of her likeness. There still remains some controversy as to whether Blessed Imelda can be classified as incorrupt. Many argue that contrary to popular belief, she is not truly incorrupt. Many other sources, including the Church of San Sigismondo, steadfastly claim that she is incorrupt.
Perhaps the expression used by Francis has something to do with Blessed Imelda's reputation as an incorruptible.
Oh, and about that story of a dead little girl and the sacristan... there's no way that would fly today.