Pope Francis Making Normal Progress in Recovery from Abdominal Surgery

Pope Francis at his general audience in St. Peter's Square on May 17, 2023. | Vatican Media

Pope Francis is “steadily improving” two days after he underwent abdominal surgery to correct an incisional hernia, a Vatican spokesman said Friday.

According to Matteo Bruni, the pope rested during the night and on the morning of June 9 was able to eat breakfast and move from his hospital bed to an armchair.

“The medical team reports that the clinical picture is steadily improving and the postoperative progress is normal,” he said in a brief statement released shortly before 1 p.m. Rome time.

He added that Pope Francis was able to read the newspaper and do some work.

Francis underwent a three-hour surgery for an incisional hernia on June 7. A team of surgeons removed scar tissue and operated on a hernia in the pope’s abdominal wall at the site of a previous surgical incision.


Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the pope’s main surgeon, said at a press conference shortly after the operation that Francis had been experiencing increasing pain for several months due to the hernia and decided on June 6 to undergo the surgery to correct it.

The 86-year-old Francis has been hospitalized three times in the past two years.

He 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 for which he was operated on in July 2021.

Religious leaders around the world have expressed their well-wishes and prayers for Pope Francis as he recovers in the hospital.

The family of a baby baptized by the pope at the end of March sent a poster to Pope Francis.

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Francis baptized Miguel Angel when he visited the pediatric oncology ward of Gemelli Hospital while he was hospitalized for a lung infection.

“We just want to thank you for blessing our brother and wish from the bottom of our hearts that you get better,” the poster said in Spanish.

The pope has also been sent a get-well card from children being treated at the Vatican-connected Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome.

Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.