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Freed Sudanese drew Cotton, Pryor focus

Posted: July 25, 2014 at 3:57 a.m.

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, holding her daughter Maya, at the Vatican, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Pope Francis met privately Thursday with a Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence, blessing the woman as she cradled her infant daughter born just weeks ago in prison. The Vatican characterized the visit with Meriam Ibrahim, 27, her husband and their two small children as "very affectionate." The 30-minute encounter took place just hours after the family landed at Rome's Ciampino airport, accompanied by an Italian diplomat who helped negotiate her release, and welcomed by Italy's premier, who hailed it as a "day of celebration." (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, File)

After more than a year in prison, a woman on death row in Sudan for refusing to convert from Christianity was blessed by Pope Francis on Thursday hours after leaving her home country.

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