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Dying woman’s wish to meet the Pope comes true

Corinne Barber and Archbishop Leo Cushley

The family of a dying woman whose last wish was to visit the Vatican have now raised enough funds to make the dream a reality.

Corinne Barber, 42, from Leith, Edinburgh, departed for Rome last Saturday. It is understood that she met Pope Francis during his general audience on Wednesday.

Mrs Barber has a heart disorder which means she may only have five to 12 months left to live. Her family raised over £9,000 to fund the trip.

She made the trip with her mother Irene Barber, travelling by train from Edinburgh to Paris and then from Paris to Rome. Corinne’s twin sister Sandra and her husband Andrew flew out to join them in Rome.

Her brother Darren Barber, 43, from North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland, set up the GoFundMe fundraising page entitled “Help with Corinne’s Final Wish” in September this year and was delighted when the public rallied behind the campaign and even the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh offered his support.

Archbishop Leo Cushley said: “We are thrilled that Corinne is finally able to make her pilgrimage to Rome and we will now make sure that she is at next week’s audience with Pope Francis. We also hope to arrange a private tour of the Vatican for Corrine including the Sistine Chapel. It’s the very least we can do to help.”

Darren Barber said: “I am absolutely ecstatic that we are finally in a position to make this happen. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity shown by people who have supported our GoFundMe campaign and Corinne has been elated by the way people have connected with her.

“We have received hundreds of donations and messages of support and have been thrilled to have received such encouragement from the Archbishop and Metropolitan of St Andrews & Edinburgh who have very generously covered the insurance costs of the trip,” he said.

Mrs Barber said: “I can’t believe that this is really happening. I’m both incredibly excited and quite nervous. The effort involved in getting there is significant but I am looking forward to the experience once we’re there. Visiting the many historical sites, tying it all into both my academic work and my faith, to see it all in the flesh, so to speak. With the opportunity of being able to meet the Pope it promises to truly be a spiritual journey of a lifetime. I am truly humbled by this whole experience and very, very grateful to everyone who helped to make this a reality.”