Pope Encourages Christian Support of Terminally Ill

When Receiving the Religious Families Founded by Blessed Luigi Guanella

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 4, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II encouraged the religious families founded by Blessed Luigi Guanella in their work of humanly and spiritually supporting the terminally ill.

Blessed Guanella used to say: “The good must be done well,” said the Pope during an audience last Friday with the blessed’s followers. The Holy Father exhorted them to be “good Samaritans” of the poor. The religious are celebrating the centenary of their presence in Rome.

“Death and dying have always been a challenge not deprived of anguish for the human being,” John Paul II said. “Founding the St. Joseph Pious Union of Transit for the dying, Don Guanella was able to inspire a current of prayer to help those who are about to cross the threshold of eternity.”

John Paul II emphasized that “to give love to brothers, it is necessary to seek it in the furnace of divine charity, through constant contact with Christ in prayer.”

“May you be encouraged by that strong spirit of faith that made Don Guanella repeat: ‘”It is God who acts; we are only instruments of Providence,'” he said.

After 89 years, the mortal remains of Blessed Guanella have returned to Rome. The urn arrived at the Generalate of the Servants of Charity in Rome on Oct. 16.

Referring to the presence of the priest’s mortal remains in Rome, the Holy Father said that he hoped the relics would encourage his followers to imitate “his virtues and tend with all their strength to the lofty measure of the Christian life, which is holiness.”

Luigi Guanella was born in Fraciscio di Campodolcino, in 1842. He was ordained a priest in 1886. In his pastoral activity, he was in touch with Don Bosco, whom he met in Turin and with whom he spent three years.

In 1881 Guanella founded the Servants of Charity and the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence. From the city of Como, they spread immediately throughout Italy, as well as in America, Asia and Africa.

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