As you may recall, I was honored to accept an invitation to speak at the Vatican Stem Cell conference in Rome this past November. The conference was certainly the highlight of my year and all I can say is that the Vatican knows how to throw a great conference! My favorite moment of the conference was when I embarrassed my 83 year old mother (who was in the first row) when I opened my talk on orthopedic stem cells with, “My mother had 6 boys and like every religious Catholic mother she always wanted one of us to become a priest. Well she never got her priest, so maybe lecturing at the Vatican helps…” After I had completed my talk, a priest came up to me and pulled on his collar and said, “You know, it’s never too late!”
The visit to the Holy City brought back great memories, as the last time I was there I had taken my ill father (Joe Centeno) to see the Pope. If you’ve visited my office you know we eventually did meet Pope John-Paul in person and how we got there is a whole other and very long story. Above is a picture of my late father and a very much younger Doctor Centeno (without any grey hair)! Below that is a picture from last month of my elderly mother (who insisted on being there early so she could find the best seat) and my son Joe at the conference.