'He has the heart of Jesus': Mary Jo Copeland meets the Pope


"It was like touching the face of Jesus. I mean that. He is a very warm, spiritual, loving man and he has the heart of Jesus."

That's what Mary Jo Copeland – the founder of Sharing and Caring Hands – said about her meeting with Pope Francis in Washington D.C. Thursday, according to MPR.

The story really begins nearly six months ago when Copeland and Bishop Andrew Cozzens wrote the Pope a letter asking him to visit Minneapolis while he was in America. Weeks later they received a call saying they were invited to meet with the Pope during the pontiff's U.S. visit.

Copeland founded Sharing and Caring Hands – an organization that helps those in poverty meet their needs – in 1985. The organization says she has become known to many as their "street mother," while city officials have called her an extraordinary leader.

For the last 30 years the organization has grown from humble beginnings to one that spent over $350,000 a month helping those in need.

So on Thursday, Copeland, her husband, Richard Copeland and Bishop Cozzens met with Pope Francis at the Vatican Embassy in Washington.

According to KSTP, her invitation to meet with the Pope was a way to honor the work she's done to help the homeless and others afflicted by poverty.

"I said 'Oh Pope Francis, Holy Father, would you pray for me so I can continue my work? There's a lot of work to do, you know?' Then I knew. He shook his head like he would pray for me forever," Copeland told KARE 11.

Her work certainly wasn't lost on the Pope either. According to the National Catholic Reporter, Pope Francis had a chance to have lunch on Capitol Hill Thursday, but instead he chose to eat with and visit the homeless at St. Patrick's Church.

Next Up

Miguel Sano

Twins blow lead, drop to numbing 0-7 in extra innings

Byron Buxton left the game in the ninth inning with an apparent injury.

Minnesota State Fair

There will be no state-ordered restrictions for the State Fair this year

Fair organizers could still implement their own COVID safety restrictions.

Walz-May 6 - address

Walz: Prepare for a summer 'where just the simple pleasures will be back again'

But the governor made clear vaccinations are key to getting there more quickly.

moderna vaccine covid

Drug trial shows Moderna vaccine is 96% effective in teens

The drugmaker still needs federal authorization following more studies.

raku sushi

St. Louis Park restaurant owners accused in 'sophisticated' tax fraud scheme

They're accused of underpaying sales taxes by nearly $240,000.

uss minneapolis bell

Minneapolis Parks to get historic bell, wheel back from Minnetonka HS

The bell and wheel were stolen years ago and were discovered last year at Minnetonka High School.

Kellen Mond

Coller: Draft solidifies that 2021 holds answers to Vikings' future at QB

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.