Suffering Doesn't Have Final Word, Says Pope

Reminds Ill of Their Important Mission

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TURIN, Italy, MAY 2, 2010 ( Benedict XVI did not end his one-day trip to Turin today without a moment to encourage those who are ill and suffering, reminding them they have an important mission in the Church.

The Pope’s meeting with the ill came during his visit to the Little House of Divine Providence, founded in 1832 by Father Joseph Benedict Cottolengo (1786-1842). The Holy Father reflected on the testimony of this priest during his general audience last Wednesday.

«Our encounter goes very well with my pilgrimage to the Holy Shroud,» he told the sick, some of whom were in wheelchairs, «because we can read the whole drama of suffering, but also, in the light of the resurrection of Christ, the full significance that this takes on for the redemption of the world.»

Recalling the founder of the House of Divine Providence, the Pontiff affirmed that Father Cottolengo «was an authentic champion of charity.» 

«A deep conviction guided him,» he explained. «The poor are Jesus, he would say. They are not an image of him. They are Jesus in person and as such it is necessary to serve. All of the poor are our masters.»

Benedict XVI assured the sick that they have an important mission: «Living your sufferings in union with the crucified and risen Christ, you participate in the mystery of his suffering for the salvation of the world.»

«This House is one of the mature fruits born of the cross and resurrection of Christ and it shows that suffering, evil and death do not have the last word,» he said. «Because from death and suffering, life can spring up.»

When he left the Little House of Divine Providence, the Holy Father went by car to the Turin airport to return to Rome.

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