A Salvadorean nun gave birth to a baby boy in the small Italian city of Reiti—and named him Francis, apparently a tribute to the pope. The 31-year-old called an ambulance Wednesday morning, reporting abdominal pains, which she believed were stomach cramps, according to the BBC. Until the very end the nun insisted she was unaware of her pregnancy. “It’s not possible, I’m a nun,” she told doctors, according to Italian press reports cited by the Telegraph. But it appears her fellow nuns aren’t quite buying that it could have been a virgin birth. “It seems she was not able to resist temptation,” said the convent’s mother superior, Sister Erminia.
Regardless of how she got pregnant, some seem willing to believe she had no idea she was pregnant. “I guess she’s telling the truth when she says she arrived at the hospital unaware of the pregnancy,” a local pastor, Don Fabrizio Borrello, told journalsits, noting the nun plans to keep the baby. The nun, whose name wasn’t released, belongs to the “Little Disciples of Jesus” convent, which is in charge of managing an old people’s home, notes the AFP. She likely won’t be there for long. “It would be preferable that she now lead a secular life with her baby, away from religious institutions,” said a spokesman for Delio Lucarelli, bishop of Rieti.
Last year, the British Medical Journal published a long-term study on reproductive health that found almost 1 percent of young women in a U.S. study claimed they got pregnant despite never having sex nor using assisted reproductive technologies. Of the 5,340 women who reported pregnancy, 45—or 0.8 percent—reported a virgin pregnancy.