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Holy Father Thanks Missionary Nun Who has Served in African for 60 Years

Sister Maria Concetta Esu, of the Congregation of Daughters of Saint Joseph of Genoni

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Sister Maria Concetta Esu, 85, of the Congregation of Daughters of Saint Joseph of Genoni, has spent the past 60 years in Africa. She is a midwife and had helped to bring literally thousands of babies into the world.
At his March 27, 2019, General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said thank you to the tireless nun, who was in Rome for a meeting of her congregation. He had met her during a 2015 visit to the Central African Republic; she came to his event from the Congo in a canoe.
“Dear Sister, in my name and that of the Church, I offer you an honor,” Francis said. “It’s a sign of our affection and of our ‘thank you’ for all the work you have done in the midst of African sisters and brothers, at the service of life, of children, of mothers, and of families.”
Sister Maria Concetta will return shortly to Africa to continue her work.
Following is the full text of the Holy Father’s comments:
The Holy Father’s Greeting to Sister Maria Concetta Esu
 Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we have the joy of having with us a person that I wish to introduce to you. She is Sister Maria Concetta Esu, of the Congregation of Daughters of Saint Joseph of Genoni. And why do I do this?
Sister Maria Concetta is 85 and has been a missionary in Africa for almost 60 years, where she carries out the service of obstetrics — applause for her. I met her at Bangui when I went to open the Jubilee of Mercy. There she told me that in her life she had helped thousands of children to be born. How wonderful! That day she even came from the Congo in a canoe — at 85 — to shop at Bangui.
She has come to Rome these days for a meeting with her Sisters, and she came to the Audience today with her Superior. So I thought of taking advantage of this occasion to give her a sign of gratitude and to say a big thank you for her witness!
Dear Sister, in my name and that of the Church, I offer you an honor. It’s a sign of our affection and of our “thank you” for all the work you have done in the midst of African sisters and brothers, at the service of life, of children, of mothers, and of families.
With this gesture dedicated to you, I also intend to express my gratitude to all men and women missionaries, priests, Religious and laymen, who scatter the seed of the Kingdom of God in every part of the world. Your work, dear men and women missionaries, is great. You “burn” your life sowing the Word of God with your witness . . . And in this world, you don’t make news. You aren’t news in the newspapers. Cardinal Hummes, who is in charge of the Brazilian Episcopate, of the whole of Amazonia, often goes to visit the cities and villages of Amazonia. And every time he arrives there — he told me this himself — he goes to the cemetery and visits the missionaries’ tombs; so many young dead because of sicknesses against which they didn’t have the antibodies.  And he said to me: “All these deserve to be canonized,” because they “burnt” <their> life in service.
Dear brothers and sisters, after this commitment, Sister Maria Concetta will return in these days to Africa. Let us accompany her with prayer. And may her example help us all to live the Gospel, there, where we are.
Thank you, Sister! May the Lord bless you and Our Lady protect you.
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
© Libreria Editrice Vatican

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Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a husband, father, grandfather, writer, and communications consultant. He also likes playing the piano and fishing. He writes from the Chicago area.

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