Pope Francis met privately with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and encouraged her to “stay strong,” according to a press release from Liberty Counsel, which is representing Davis.
The meeting occurred during the pontiff’s visit to Washington, D.C. on September 24, and took place at the Vatican Embassy.
“Thank you for your courage. Stay strong,” Francis told Davis, as he held out his hands and asked her to pray for him. Davis held his hands and said, “I will. Please pray for me.” The two then embraced.
Davis was jailed for several days for contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses before finally being released. She has removed her name and title from the licenses, a practice that has been questioned by one of her deputies.
“I was humbled to meet Pope Francis. Of all people, why me?” Davis said. “I never thought I would meet the pope. Who am I to have this rare opportunity? I am just a county clerk who loves Jesus and desires with all my heart to serve him.”
Pope Francis was “kind, genuinely caring and very personable,” Davis said.
Francis met with Davis and her husband, Joe, speaking to them in English and presenting them with two rosaries he had blessed. Davis’ parents are Catholic and she plans to give the rosaries to them.