Pope Francis arrived at an audience with nuns at the Vatican on Friday in a wheelchair, days after announcing he was about to undergo a minor procedure to treat his right knee.

The 85-year-old pontiff was helped by an aide as he was wheeled onto the stage at the International Union of Superiors General, an organization that represents sisters and nuns from 80 different countries.

Francis, who suffers from sciatica, has complained about his knee recently. He has also apologized for not being able to stand to greet the faithful at recent events.

Last week, at the end of an audience with bishops from Slovakia, Francis referred to a “problem” with his knee. “[It] doesn’t work,” he said. “I have to obey the doctor, who told me not to walk.”

On Thursday, he was encouraged by thousands of pilgrims as he showed difficulty standing up at the end of his weekly general audience.

Earlier this week Francis told the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera that he was about to undergo a minor surgical procedure due to a “torn ligament.”

“I’ve been prescribed a series of knee injections, so we’ll see,” the Argentinean-born pope said in an interview published Tuesday. “It’s been going on for some time now, I can’t walk around anymore.”

Francis is scheduled to visit several countries in the next few months: Lebanon in June, then South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Canada in July.

A Vatican source told The Guardian that he is not expected to make any changes in his upcoming schedule

According to the Catholic News Agency, Friday marked the first time Francis used a wheelchair in public since leaving Rome’s Gemelli hospital after undergoing colon surgery in July 2021.

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