Austin neurosurgeon to see Pope Francis

Dr. Mateo Ziu goes to work each day to make a difference.

"I'm a neurosurgeon and treat every surgical disease that has to do with the nervous system," said Ziu.

In his line of work at the Seton Brain and Spine Institute, Ziu handles some of the toughest cases including brain and spine tumors.

"It's a hard disease when you talk to patients and in some way you touch their life, that faith, that we have helps you help them better and talk to them better," said Ziu.

Ziu was born and raised in Albania. As a communist country, religion wasn't something he talked about out loud. "We didn't learn anything about religion except from our parents and you kept quiet otherwise you could be in big trouble," said Ziu.

After the fall of communism, one of the religious leaders to come into Albania was Mother Teresa.

The woman with a big a heart helped inspire Ziu to volunteer and give back all while encouraging his faith. "Mother Teresa was with her mission and charity," said Ziu. He would go on to translate for religious leaders and eventually be baptized. Ziu believes Mother Teresa helped make going to medical school in Italy possible.

"She touched my life personally but also the teaching of her and the sisters. Looking at how she touched the poor and the sick I really got inspired to go into medicine. She did ask me to be a priest but I like medicine more," said Ziu.

When the opportunity to travel to D.C. to see another religious icon, Pope Francis, came about Ziu knew he had to go.

"It energizes your faith. It tells you that we're not alone," said Ziu.

An opportunity he wouldn't miss. 

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