Pope Francis meets Chilean miners five years after rescue

Story highlights

  • The miners, who are in Rome promoting a film about the 2010 disaster, give the Pope several gifts
  • Francis blessed one miner's 5-year-old daughter, born when he was still trapped

(CNN)They were stuck underground for more than two months, staring at the pages of small Bibles as they prayed they'd make it out alive.

But just over five years after their dramatic rescue from a remote desert mine, many of the Chilean miners saw a very different sight on Wednesday: Pope Francis.
    The group of miners, who are in Rome promoting a new film about the mine disaster, posed for photos and presented gifts to Francis at the Vatican.
    Photos posted on the official Facebook page of "The 33" movie show a smiling Francis in St. Peter's Square, blessing 5-year-old Esperanza Ticona, who was born when her father was still trapped in the mine. In Spanish, her name means "hope."
    The Pope gave each of the miners a blessed rosary.
    According to film distributor Warner Bros. Pictures, which is also owned by CNN's parent company Time Warner, the miners gave the Pope a helmet signed by each of the miners and an enlarged framed message.
    Another photo shows miner Jorge Galleguillos presenting the Pope with a small box containing rocks from the mine.
    In a recent interview, Galleguillos said the day the mine caved in, he made the sign of the cross in front of an image of the Virgin Mary near the entrance.
    When the mine collapsed, he feared he would never see his family again.
    Galleguillos, 61, now subsidizes his pension by giving tours to visitors at the mine site for donations. He told CNN he teaches and performs Chilean folk dance to chase off nightmares that wake him up at 4 a.m. every day.
    In the five years since the mine collapsed, Galleguillos said he is more thankful than ever, but also struggling with the harrowing time he spent trapped underground.
    "I'm alive thanks to God," he told CNN. "That's the important thing."