Pope Francis says "Every time we approach with charity, with love for a person, we restore dignity to him. The dignity of Christ..." FULL TEXT to Religious Sisters



Consistory Hall
Saturday, March 26, 2022


 Dear Sisters, good morning and welcome!

I am happy to welcome you on the occasion of your XX General Chapter, which you began on the eve of the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, good start! With St. Joseph by the hand, you always go well, always.

The Chapter, which in every religious family represents a fundamental moment in the journey of its life, means encounter, means dialogue, means responsibility, means evangelical communion. It does not mean chatter, this does not mean. I like to think that you wanted to entrust your works and their success to Saint Joseph in custody ; to him, the artisan of Nazareth, who also with his work participated in the plan of salvation and served him faithfully, like a just man.

We also find this model of Saint Joseph in your Founder, Saint Anthony Maria Gianelli. Some call him "the Iron Saint", but he was very human. Iron refers to holiness, but he is a very tender person: we must not go wrong with this qualification! He was an apostle of the Gospel of work , an essential element of personal, family and social lifeHe was a zealous worker in the Lord's field, dedicated to serving the Word of God, both in his preaching and in his works. In preaching he testified and announced faith in God's providence. With works of mercy he showed the way of holiness and attracted people to follow it, giving an example of concrete and caring charity for the least and marginalized of society. He was an example in this, a fine example.

With this purpose he gave life in 1829, in Chiavari where he was parish priest, to a charitable service entrusted to some women, called the "Ladies of Charity", from which your Institute took shape, the Daughters of Mary Most Holy of the Garden, known as Gianelline . You have spread in a short time in different parts of the world and you have tried to fulfill the vocation received, carrying out the evangelizing mission with the work of charity .

Dear Sisters, the theme you have chosen for this General Chapter: " Attentive to the world, with your heart in God ", well translates the Gianellian inspiration of caring, of becoming neighbor, of doing good, rooted in the life consecrated to the Lord. . A tension: staying in God but going to the peripheries, always to the most needy peripheries. And there we witness God.

Certainly you have wondered how to respond to the current challenge of a culture that is not like this, it is a culture of self-referentiality, it is a culture, I would say, a bit of "makeup", where it is more important to put on makeup than to grow up, than to go forward; a culture of the mirror, self-referentiality. And this is bad. A culture, this of self-referentiality, which is a little egotic, leads us to indifference, not to take care of others, to look the other way, to selfishness, and this disturbs the order of human relations and opens up to the many shortcuts of slaveryinjustice, exploitation, which offend the dignity of people. You who work in life, you know how much exploitation there is today in this culture against young people, children - even with child labor - exploited women, even the old: one way to exploit them is to leave them aside. And against this culture there is your institute which with charity can go anywhere.

You are present in many countries and you encounter many situations of suffering, poverty, arrogance. Your mission to evangelize also encounters obstacles and resistances, but, following the example of St. Anthony Gianelli, instead of being discouraged, you face this difficulty with trust and hope, knowing that you yourselves are the first poor and in need of God. This humble and humble attitude. brave resembles that of the Virgin Mary in the face of her trials. It makes each of you a good land in which the seed of charity can sprout, which you are called to "water" every day with prayer, especially with adoration, to remain "with your heart in God", as he says. your theme.

From a heart immersed in God come the fruits of a life that smells of the Gospel: a life rich in understanding, rich in fraternity, tenderness, joy, self-giving. And the world thirsts for this good life, but alone it cannot give it to itself; he needs to see it witnessed, and not by phenomenal people, but by simple people, by people with limitations and weaknesses like us and yet full of the power of the Holy Spirit.

With these roots, with this inner solidity, you can go on the streets of the world and you can make yourselves, as you propose, "attentive to the world". What does this mean? I would like to suggest two simple traces of reflection and of a journey.

The first is this: attentive to the world - in the evangelical sense - is the one who knows how to be amazed, who is open to reap the seeds of the kingdom of God present in reality, because he knows that the Holy Spirit is always at work and works freely and in a often surprising. "Attention" therefore not as judgment, or prejudice, not as suspicion or mistrust or fear, but as healthy realism, as simplicity, knowing how to take situations and people as they are and accompany them on the path of closeness to God and maturation in the Lord .

The second emphasis: attentive to the world is those who do not remain "on the balcony". This is one of the worst things: a Christian who is "on the balcony". In Spanish we say that balconea, an attitude of looking at things in an aseptic way, which does not come into contact with the world. Do not stay on the balcony, do not observe with detachment, but approach, bend down, touch with your hand. Touching us humanizes us. Usually, in confessions or in dialogue, I ask a person: "But, tell me: do you give alms?" - "Yes, father, I give alms" - "And tell me, when you give alms, do you touch the hand of the person asking, do you look into her eyes?" - "But I do not know…". This almsgiving is not yours, mechanical. If you are able to touch, to look at the eyes, so it is beautiful. This is important: do not balcony, touch with your hand. Attention therefore as closeness, being a neighbor, taking care. And here, dear sisters, you have the excellent school of your Founder, who taught you to be good Samaritans, always traveling but ready to stop and take care of the poor, the wounded of life, bind up the wounds and listen, listen a lot. , to heal from indifference, to heal from loneliness, and to restore dignity. Every time we approach with charity, with love for a person, we restore dignity to him. The dignity of Christ, who comes with our gesture of charity. to listen a lot, to heal from indifference, to heal from loneliness, and to restore dignity. Every time we approach with charity, with love for a person, we restore dignity to him. The dignity of Christ, who comes with our gesture of charity. to listen a lot, to heal from indifference, to heal from loneliness, and to restore dignity. Every time we approach with charity, with love for a person, we restore dignity to him. The dignity of Christ, who comes with our gesture of charity.

And this starting from one's own family, that is, from your communities! Each of you can ask yourself: "How can I be 'attentive to the world' if I do not know how to be attentive to my room neighbor, to my work partner?". The Holy Spirit, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, will help you so that in your communities you can breathe a serene atmosphere of fraternity, a warmth of welcome, of understanding, of magnanimity. Even among us, at home, in fact, there are wounds, there is loneliness, there are physical and moral fatigue. An enemy of this fraternity is chatter. I know you don't, you are all holy… But it's so easy to slip into chatter! "Did you see what that one said?", And so the chatter begins ... And the poor thing is buried by our words. For this, I will give you a gift. It is a small study that an Apostolic Nuncio did on gossip. To read, it's good. Chatter destroys identity.

Dear Sisters, I thank you for your presence among the People of God and close to the poorest. Do not frighten you problems and difficulties, there will be many, go forward with confidence in Providence, always faithful to the original charism. But a creative fidelity, a fidelity guided by patient, wise, courageous discernment, always enlightened by the Word of God, by the Magisterium of the Church and by the advice of expert and competent people. I bless you from my heart. Go forward with joy, beware of the world - not from the balcony! - with your heart in God. And please, don't forget to pray for me. Thank you!

FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Image Screenshot same