Actor Steve Coogan and Philomena Lee, whose story inspired the Oscar-nominated film “Philomena” – which tells the story of Ms Lee's search for her adopted son - met Pope Francis at his weekly General Audience in the Vatican.
The two “are campaigning for the release of 60,000 adoption files held by the Irish state, churches and private agencies,” the BBC reports.
“As an unmarried mother in Ireland in the 1950s,
Ms Lee was put into a convent as a "fallen woman" and forced to give up
her three-year-old son.”
"I am honoured and delighted to have been in the
presence of Pope Francis today," Ms Lee said. "As the film portrays, I
have always put great faith in the church and the good will to put the
wrongs of the past right,” she added.
"I hope and believe that his Holiness Pope Francis
joins me in the fight to help the thousands of mothers and children who
need closure on their own stories."
“Ms Lee and her daughter Jane recently launched
The Philomena Project to help reunite families separated by adoption.At
present, adopted children who are trying to find their biological
parents in Ireland are not permitted to see documents containing
information on the identities of parents and children. Adoption was
sometimes forced upon single mothers due to the stigma of having a child
outside marriage,” the BBC informs in its report.
“The film has four Oscar nominations, including
best picture, best actress for Dame Judi and best adapted screenplay for
Coogan and co-writer Jeff Pope.”