Nun who gave birth to boy identified; worries about backlash

ROME - A nun from El Salvador is happy about having a son but also worries about a potential public backlash.

The nun has been identified as Roxana Rodriguez from the order of the Little Disciples of Jesus, Britain's Daily Mail reported. A picture showing her taking vows to become a nun last September was splashed on Italian daily Corriere Della Sera.

Sister Roxana was quoted as telling her social worker that she is "happy" and feels "more of a mother than a nun".

"I do not feel of guilt. I will be keeping him and bringing him up," said the new mother, who is now at the San Camillo de Lellis Hospital in Rieti, 80km north of Rome, Italy.

The 33-year-old nun gave birth to a 3.5kg baby boy last Wednesday. She named her son Francesco in honour of Pope Francis. The father of the child is believed to be in El Salvador, The Telegraph reported.

"He is a gift from God," said Sister Roxana, adding: "I am a little worried about all the publicity, not only in Italy but in El Salvador and all over the world."

Sister Roxana faces expulsion from the convent for her pregnancy, although she has written to apologise to her mother superior for breaking her vows of "chastity, poverty and obedience".

"She did not know how to resist temptation," The head of her convent Sister Erminia Pusceddu was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

"Everyone is talking about this and I don't think I will be able to return to my home country, let alone Rieti," Sister Roxana was quoted as saying in the report.

She said she had thought that the swelling in her abdomen was a result of poor digestion, and convinced herself that the discomfort was due to an ongoing gastric infection, although doctors had told her about the pregnancy after conducting an ultrasound scan.

She could have fallen pregnant during a trip back home to renew her passport sometime between March and April last year, according to Father Benedetto Falcetti, head of the regional branch of the Catholic charity Caritas.

"It was the rekindling of a childhood flame," he was quoted as saying.