RIO DE JANEIRO — Pope Francis asked for a moment of silence to pray for 21-year-old pilgrim Sophie Morinière, who was killed in a July 17 bus accident on her way to participate in World Youth Day .
During the Pope’s welcoming ceremony for World Youth Day on July 25, where officials estimated 1 million youth gathered on the famous Copacabana beach, Francis expressed his condolences for those who were also badly injured just days before the event.
The bus, which was taking a group of pilgrims of St. Léon parish in Paris to Rio, collided with a truck close to Kourou in French Guiana, a country bordering north of Brazil.
Sophie had traveled from Paris to take part in World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro and was with other friends in Guiana, where they had spent a week prior to the global youth event.
Sophie was in her fourth year of studies at LʻEcole Polytechnique Féminine, an engineering school in Paris, where she lived. She was the oldest of four children: one sister, 19, and two brothers, 17 and 14.
In an interview with Notre Dame Radio on July 12, five days before her death, the young woman spoke about her delegation that was making its way through South America to World Youth Day in Rio.
“The time in Guayana [Venezuela] will be a period of preparation,” she said. “We have put ourselves in touch with locals, who are happy to meet and receive us with open arms. We will have time for spiritual sharing, and we will be received by families, distributed in pairs in each one of their homes.”
The young woman told the radio’s morning audience that she was looking forward to sharing with them “what will be lived in Brazil.”
“I will tell you about our encounters, our experiences, because in Paris one canʼt follow everything that takes place on the other side of the world,” she said.
After her death, Pope Francis, through Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, wrote a telegram in which he stated that “the Pope assures you of his prayers and expresses his most deepest sympathy to those injured, to the rescue workers and all those surrounding them.”