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Nuns in a Carmelite community in Lucena, Spain, received a voice-mail message on New Year’s Eve that they had to share with the world. The caller was Pope Francis.

“What are the nuns doing that they can’t answer?” the Pope said jokingly. “I am Pope Francis, I wish to greet you in this end of the year, I will see if I can call you later. May God bless you!”

Pope Francis Called Nuns

The nuns passed the audio message to the Spanish radio network COPE, which is linked to the body that runs the Roman Catholic Church in Spain.

The nuns were praying when Francis called shortly before noon, and so didn’t answer, the radio network said.

The nuns realized that they had missed a phone call from the Pope, they didn’t know what to do. They consulted with their local bishop and tried to call Francis back, without success, the radio network said.

They decided simply to wait in hope of another call.Hours later, the phone rang again — and this time they answered.

Francis talked with the community’s five nuns, three of whom hail from his native Argentina, on speakerphone, COPE said.

“The message from Pope Francis was to never lose hope, because sadness leads to spiritual sloth and hopelessness,” said Sister Adriana according to CNN