New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says Pope Francis blessed a photo of her late mother when the governor traveled to Rome earlier this month for the installation of the Catholic Church's new top leader.
Martinez traveled to Italy with a delegation led by Vice President Joe Biden to attend the pope's inauguration Mass on March 19.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that the photo Martinez carried to the ceremony was of her mother, Paula Aguirre, at the time of her mother's First Holy Communion.
Paula Martinez died of cancer in 2006 at age 71.
Martinez says she practices her Roman Catholic faith "in private moments" and through her work, though she isn't registered with a church and doesn't attend Mass regularly.