Pope Francis met privately with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, according to Davis' lawyer and a non-profit group.
"Thank you for your courage" Pope Francis reportedly told Davis during a 10-minute meeting at the Vatican's embassy in Washington, D.C., Thursday September 24, 2015.
A description of the papal encounter was first published on the Liberty Counsel website, a non-profit group that states its mission as "litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family."
"Stay strong," the pope reportedly said as he held out his hands and asked Kim to pray for him.
"Kim held his hands and said, 'I will. Please pray for me,' and the Pope said he would." the report said. "The two embraced. The Pontiff presented Kim and Joe Davis each with a Rosary that he personally blessed."
Davis was in Washington to recieve the "Cost of Discipleship" award at the Values Voter Summit on Friday, the Liberty Council said.
Davis told ABC News on Wednesday that meeting the pope gave her a renewed sense of purpose. "I was crying. I had tears coming out of my eyes," she said. "I'm just a nobody, so it was really humbling to think he would want to meet or know me."
A Vatican spokesman confirmed to reporters that the meeting happened, but he declined any comment Wednesday. Photos of Davis with the pope will be made pubic later, the lawyer said.
Pope Francis had expressed support in talks with reporters for people, including government officials, who are conscientious objectors. "Conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right. Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right."
Davis was released from jail last month after five days when she agreed to not interfere with her deputies issuing licenses to same-sex couples.
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