MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE MINIMUM FRANCISCAN SISTERS OF THE SACRED HEART
TO THE MINIMUM FRANCISCAN SISTERS OF THE SACRED HEART
On 8 August 2021, the centenary of the birth to heaven of Blessed Maria Margherita Caiani will be celebrated, who in 1902 gave birth to the Institute of the Minimal Franciscans of the Sacred Heart. I am delighted that you, her spiritual daughters, want to prepare yourselves for this anniversary with the Jubilee year that begins today, in the liturgical memorial of the Blessed.
My hope is that this year may be an occasion for the whole Congregation to commemorate the life and teachings of the Foundress, as well as these nearly 120 years of journey, also looking at the challenges of the future. It is a grace to have a grateful heart reconciled with one's yesterday and eyes full of hope in tomorrow; woe betide, however, to take refuge in a past that is no longer or in a tomorrow that is not yet, fleeing the today in which we are called to live and work. This anniversary calls you to embody the specificities of your charism in our time. May the Holy Spirit, who awakened it at the beginning of the last century, give you the strength to rediscover its freshness and the ability to continue to perfume the world with the gift of your life.
You are the Minimal Franciscans of the Sacred Heart. I would like to focus briefly on this name.
Mother Caiani, calling you Minime , wanted to highlight what the style of your life must be: the style of littleness. This then received confirmation with the grafting of your Institute into the tree of the great Franciscan Family: you placed yourselves at the school of St. Francis to better follow the Lord, who was the first to “make himself small, he chose this path. That of humiliating oneself and humiliating oneself to death on the cross ”( Homily of the Mass at Casa Santa Marta , 23 June 2017).
It is a way to go every day. It is a narrow and tiring path, but if you follow it to the end, life becomes fruitful . As it was for the Virgin Mary, looked upon by the Most High precisely because she is humble and small (cf. Lk 1:47); and thus she became the Mother of God.
Franciscan, Minime, and specified " of the Sacred Heart ", to take root at the source of Charity. The love that Jesus has for us does not dazzle with great special effects that soon vanish, but it is a concrete and faithful love, made up of closeness, of gestures that lift us up and give us dignity and trust. Let us think of the two disciples of Emmaus who, confused and embittered, returned to their home on Easter evening (cf. Lk 24 : 13-35). The Lord approached them not as a hero but as a fellow traveler; walking he explained "to them in all the Scriptures what referred to him" ( v . 27), and their hearts burned with joy; and then he broke the bread, "then their eyes were opened and they recognized him" ( v . 31).
May you love with the Heart of Jesus, with gestures rich in tenderness. And the first place to live this simple and concrete love is your religious community.
" Del Sacro Cuore " is not just a complement, but says much more: it speaks of belonging. The Lord has given you life, he has generated you to faith and has called you to himself in consecrated life by drawing you to his Heart. This belonging is manifested in a particular way in prayer . Our whole life is called, with the grace of the Spirit, to become prayer. For this we must allow the Lord to remain united with us always. And so He transforms us, day after day, making our heart more and more similar to his.
There are moments in the day that favor this union with God: Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, Adoration, meditation on the Word, the Rosary, spiritual reading. May it be your going to the Lord full of joy, the joy of the child running towards his parents to embrace and kiss them. This joy attracts and is contagious! Sometimes it seems that there are a thousand other more necessary things to do, or we feel the fatigue of being with Jesus; but, like the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus invites us to remain there, close to him (cf. Mk 14:38). Let us allow the Lord to remain united with us!
Pushed by the Sacred Heart, you will be mothers for the brothers and sisters you meet "from the cradle to the grave", as Blessed Maria Margherita used to say. You will announce joyfully that the Lord always looks at us with mercy, he has a merciful Heart.
Your charisma also has a restorative dimension . This is a great service for the good of the world. Sin ruins the work that God created beautiful. You, with your prayers and your little gestures, sow in the field of the world the seed of God's love which makes all things new. When the seed falls to the ground, it makes no noise: so are the many works that you carry out in Italy, Brazil, Egypt, Sri Lanka and Bethlehem, especially in favor of children and young people. Gestures that are capable of making the world more beautiful, of illuminating it with a ray of God's love.
Dear Sisters, I wish you a holy and fruitful centenary! I assure you of my remembrance to the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary; and you too, please, don't forget to pray for me. To you and to those entrusted to your charity I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.
Rome, San Giovanni in Laterano, 8 August 2020