Real Life Philomena Meets Pope Francis at the Vatican

Women who was forced to give up her son for adoption discusses the Catholic Church and the Pope.
3:00 | 02/05/14

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Transcript for Real Life Philomena Meets Pope Francis at the Vatican
Now, we take you overseas to Rome. And this picture, today. The pope with a woman who is living an astonishing chapter in her life. She was once an unwed pregnant girl, whose cruel preemt by catholic nuns was turned into a Hollywood movie. And there are girls just like her. What does the Vatican think about that? At the Vatican today as the movie played. Reporter: 80-year-old Philomena lee could never have imagined this moment back in 1952. A young, unwed mother, forced by the church to give up her baby. Today, the Vatican invited her to St. Peter's for mass. This woman of unceasing faith, touching the hand of the leader of the faithful. It is an ending not even Hollywood could write. Fitting, since Philomena is now known around the world from the oscar-nominated movie bearing her name. A very long time ago, when you were 18 years old, could you have imagined it? Could I have imagined meeting the pope one day? Reporter: Having a movie made about your life? No way. No way. So, Philomena. Reporter: In the film, she is played by dame Judi Dench. I did love him, you know? Reporter: Philomena was just 18 when she gave birth to an unwed son in an Irish home for unwed mothers. After you had your baby you had to stay in the Abby for four years in order ot repay the sisters for taking you in. Reporter: An estimated 60,000 unmarried catholic woman were forced to give up their babies. And those records are largely inaccessible in Ireland. Over the years, Philomena and her son looked for each other. Questioning the nuns who refused to help. Today, an attempt to change that. The Vatican hosted a screening of the film, which Philomena hopes will have far-reaching consequences. While the pope himself did not attend, he sent one of his closest personal aides. Is your presence here today a signal from the church? From the pope? Of course. The open, he knows that I'm here. Reporter: Do you see the pope intervening in some way to make the records available you do think so? A sea change for a church Philomena says she never lost faith in. You have to forgive. You just got to. Reporter: Cynthia Mcfadden, ABC news, Vatican City.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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