(CNN)Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who spent six days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, met privately with Pope Francis last week, adding a surprising twist to his first visit to the United States.
The meeting came Thursday at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, according to a statement on the Liberty Counsel website.
Mat Staver, a lawyer for Davis, said the session lasted 10 minutes and was just between the Pope, his client and her husband. He said pictures were taken and will be released at some point.
“I was humbled to meet Pope Francis. Of all people, why me?” Davis said in the statement.
“Pope Francis was kind, genuinely caring, and very personable. He even asked me to pray for him. Pope Francis thanked me for my courage and told me to ‘stay strong.’ “
Staver, who didn’t attend the meeting, said the Pope hugged Davis and gave her and her husband each a rosary, which she in turn gave to her parents.
Davis’ father and mother are lifelong Catholics. She is an Apostolic Christian after a religious conversion four and a half years ago.
The Vatican had little to say about the meeting.
“I don’t deny that the meeting took place,” said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, “but I have no comment to add.”
The meeting added a partisan wrinkle to Pope Francis’ trip last week.
While he strongly defended religious freedom in speeches at the White House, Congress and Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, Francis avoided taking public stances on particular political issues.
Davis, meanwhile, personifies religious conservatives’ concerns about the enforcement of nondiscrimination laws.
GOP candidate Mike Huckabee cheered news of the meeting, saying that it amounted to an implicit endorsement of Davis.
The White House was asked about the meeting and said one’s religious belief doesn’t trump the law.
“Our religion freedom doesn’t grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights,” press secretary Josh Earnest said. “Our position about … Ms. Davis is quite clear; that the President believes strongly in the rule of law, and that’s a principle that applies to those who are engaged in public service, starting at the level of the president of the United States, but even going down all the way to the level of the Rowan County clerk in Kentucky.”