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Watch emotional moment teen with Spina bifida is blessed by Pope Francis at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Posted: 10:01 PM, Sep 24, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-24 22:53:49-04

NEW YORK -- Stephanie Gabaud wasn't sure she would recover from back surgery in time to see Pope Francis during his historic trip to New York this week.

But the 17-year-old made it -- and received the hug of a lifetime.

Gabaud, of White Plains, was born with Spina bifida and recently endured her fourth surgery this year, just three weeks ago. But she recovered and was able to attend Thursday night's prayer service with a group who had traveled from White Plains.

As Pope Francis began his procession down the aisle at St. Patrick's Cathedral, he stopped to hug Gabaud and kiss her on the forehead.

"He said something in Spanish that I couldn't understand at first," an excited Gabaud told PIX 11 News. "I wished him blessings, and then he gave me a hug. Oh my God, it was just so amazing."