Service to Poor Calls for "Contemplatives in Action," Says Pope

In Message to Ursuline Sisters of Mary Immaculate

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 28, 2003 ( Service to the neediest calls for «contemplatives in action,» says John Paul II.

The Pope expressed this conviction in a message to the Ursuline Sisters of Mary Immaculate, meeting in general chapter, to address the question of their mission «in a world in constant evolution.»

«You are called to be ‘contemplatives in action,’ in other words, ready to respond to the needs of people, especially youth, witnessing at the same time the urgency of a profound spirituality,» he wrote in the message published by the Vatican press office.

The Ursulines of Mary Immaculate were founded by Mother Brigida Morello (1610-1679). She was beatified in 1998.

Recalling the founder’s writings, the Pontiff explained in his message that «the secret of the apostolate consists, precisely, in knowing that it is not we who have loved God, but he who has loved us.»

«By contemplating Christ, crucified and resurrected, the horizons will be expanded of your dedication to the poor, the sick and all those who are in most urgent material and spiritual needs, in particular, women and youth,» the Pope said.

Describing the authentic apostolate, the papal message concluded that it is necessary to give «importance above all to what you ‘are’ rather than to what you ‘do.'»

The Ursulines of Mary Immaculate number some 750 women religious in Italy, Brazil and Africa.

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