MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Pope Francis sent detained Senator Leila de Lima a rosary, a gift that the senator said inspires her to continue her battle.
"I cannot thank Pope Francis enough for his thoughtfulness. I'm deeply, deeply touched by the Pope's gesture. This gift will constantly remind me that, despite the political persecution I am experiencing right now at the hands of a vengeful President, I should keep the faith and fight tirelessly for the welfare of the Filipino people," De Lima said during a Mass inside her jail cell on Sunday, November 26.
The senator described the rosary as "beautiful," according to a statement from her camp.
De Lima said the rosary was given through the papal nuncio and the chaplain of the Philippine National Police (PNP). The chaplain personally handed the rosary to her on November 22, said the senator.
Before her 58th birthday last August, De Lima sent a letter to Pope Francis asking for the gift of prayer "for me and the Filipino people." (READ: De Lima in jail: 'I never imagined Duterte would be this vindictive')
"Please bless me so I can have the strength to continue the fight against the injustice that is happening not only to me, but to thousands of Filipinos who are victims of extrajudicial killing," she wrote.
De Lima said on Sunday that she received an assurance from the pontiff.
"According to the chaplain, Pope Francis was able to read my letter and assured that he is praying for me," the senator said.