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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Meeting the Hospital Sisters of Mercy

At 10:50am local time this morning, in the Sala Clementina, the Holy Father, Pope Francis received in audience the Hospital Sisters of Mercy and shared with them the speech below.

Speech of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
addressed to Hospital Sisters of Mercy

Dear Sisters, good morning!

With joy, I greet you during these days of the Jubilee of Mercy, which is particularly appropriate since it corresponds particularly to your vocation.  I greet Monsignor Fisichella, who is directing the events of this Jubilee.  I thank Mother Paola Iacovone for the words she addressed to me; and I thank the Sisters for the commitment that your religious family places on the journey in fidelity to your original charism, attentive to the new forms of poverty of our times.  You are a concrete sign of how the Father's mercy is expressed to us.

The intuition of your foundress, the Servant of God, Teresa Orsini Doria Pamphili Landi, demonstrates in eloquent fashion how much the Word of God can change the life of those who become its disciples.  This noble woman, a lay person, supported by two priests, allowed herself to be guided by the words of Jesus: I was sick and you came to my help (cf Mt 25:36).  In the face of the weakness of disease, there can be no distinction based on social status, race, language or culture; all people become weak and need to place their trust in others.

The Church knows how her commitment and her responsibility draws her close to those who are suffering, in order to bring them consolation, comfort and friendship.  You dedicate your lives above all to the service of your brothers and sisters who are recovering in hospitals, since thanks to your presence and your professionalism they feel much more supported in their illnesses.  In order to do this, you have no need of long discourses: a hug, a kiss, being close by in silence, a smile.  Don't ever stop providing this precious service, despite all the difficulty that you may encounter.  At times, in our modern day, a secular culture tries to take away every religious reference, even from hospitals, beginning with the very presence of the Sisters.  However whenever this happens, it is often accompanied by a painful lack of human contact, something which is truly difficult in places of suffering.  Never grow tired of being friendly, sisters and mothers of the sick; may prayer always be the lifeblood that sustains your evangelizing mission.

When you approach each one of the sick, stive to have within you a heart of peace and joy which are fruits of the Holy Spirit.  On that hospital bed, it is always Jesus who is lying, present in that person who is suffering, and it is He who asks for help from each one of you.  It is Jesus.  At such times, one might think:  Some of the sick bother me, but we too sometimes fatigue God, yet he still supports us and accompanies us.  Closeness to Jesus and to the weakest of our brothers and sisters is your greatest strength.  The fourth vow which characterizes you as a religious family is all the more relevant, above all because there are more and more people who have no family, no home, no country and so many need to be welcomed.  Living consistently this particular vow, you take upon yourselves the mind of Christ who though he was rich, became poor (2 Cor 8:9).  May the Holy Mother of Mercy always accompany and support you in your daily service to the poor.  I bless you with all my heart and I ask you please to pray for me.

And now, if you, Mother, have the text of the prayer for consecration, we can speak together the consecration of your Institute to our Mother of Mercy.
(Original text in Italian)
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