The grand Basilica of San Jose de Flores usually inspires visitors to gaze up at its Corinthian pillars and soaring 19th century Italianate clock tower.
This landmark in Buenos Aires played a strategic role in the life of a young Argentinian named Jorge Bergoglio. In a new book entitled "The Life of Pope Francis," he is shown shielding his eyes as he stands, stunned, in front of the sanctuary in 1953. His simple exclamation: "Dios mio," or "My God!"
Since this is a comic book, readers are told what Bergoglio was thinking. If this one moment is worth two giant images in a 22-page book, then the author has to show why it's so important.
"My goal is to focus on a few key events that made a person who are, on the forces that shaped them, not just on what they accomplished in some adult role on world stage," said author Michael Frizell, a creative writer who works in adult education at Missouri State University.
"I prefer to write about the personal, quieter scenes in a person's life. … It's especially hard to capture that when you're trying to describe a religious experience."
This private "Dios mio!" moment matters because whatever happened drove Bergoglio inside the church and into a Confession booth. This revelation changed his life.
In comic-book language that sounds like this, framed in thought boxes: "I ... don't quite know what happened. I felt like someone grabbed me from inside … and took me to the confessional. It was on that day that I knew my destiny was preordained."