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L'Osservatore Romano

Pope: A Caress, a Smile Are What the Sick Need

Urges Sisters Hospitallers of Mercy to continue their service, despite secular attempts to remove God from healthcare

Secularism sometimes attempts to evict God even from hospitals, but when that happens, a “painful lack of humanity” is usually the result, Pope Francis says.

The Pope said this on Saturday when he welcomed the Sisters Hospitallers of Mercy to the Vatican during this Jubilee of Mercy, noting that their celebration of the jubilee corresponds directly to their vocation.

The Holy Father noted the sisters’ and the whole Church’s care for the sick, saying that in the face of “the weakness of sickness, there cannot be distinctions of social state, race, language or culture; we all become weak and must entrust ourselves to others.”

“The Church feels, as her commitment and responsibility, closeness to all those who suffer, to bring them consolation, comfort and friendship.”

To support the sick, the Pope said, “there is no need for long speeches: A caress, a kiss, being at their side in silence, a smile suffices.”

The Bishop of Rome lamented how “in our days, sometimes a secular culture attempts to remove, even from hospitals, any religious reference, beginning with the Sisters’ presence itself. When this happens, however, it is usually accompanied by a painful lack of humanity,” he said.

Thus he encouraged the nuns to never tire of “being friends, sisters and mothers of the sick.”

“May prayer be always the lymph that sustains your evangelizing mission,” he recommended.

“When you approach each sick person, have peace and joy in your heart, which are fruits of the Holy Spirit,” Francis added. “It is always Jesus on that hospital bed, present in the person who suffers, and it is He who asks for help from each one of you. It is Jesus.”

The Pope also acknowledged the difficulties in caring for the sick.

“Sometimes,” he said, “one can think: ‘Some of the sick are annoying.’ But we also annoy the Lord, and He supports and accompanies us! May closeness to Jesus and to the weakest be your strength.”

The Pope also praised the mission of these sisters, founded by Servant of God Teresa Orsini Doria Pamphili Landi.

He said their vocation is ever more important, “especially because individuals without a family, without a home, without a homeland are multiplying and in need of hospitality.”

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-address-to-sisters-hospitallers-of-mercy/

About Kathleen Naab

United States

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