During his weekly Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the importance of those in consecrated life, saying that a Church without sisters is unimaginable.
The Day of Consecrated Life coincided with the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the temple. The Pope told the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square that the Gospel, which recalls this event, “constitutes an icon of the gift of their life made by those who, by a gift of God, assume the traits of Jesus as virgin, poor and obedient.”
“This gift of ourselves to God regards every Christian because we are all consecrated to him through our baptism,” he said. “We are all called to offer ourselves to the Father with Jesus and like Jesus, making a generous gift of our lives, in the family, at work, in service to the Church, in works of mercy.”
The Holy Father highlighted the lives of religious, monks and consecrated laypersons, who by their vows, belong to God and give witness to Him. He underlined the precious contribution of religious and consecrated persons, and that they are needed to foster a just and fraternal society.
“There is great need of these presences that reinforce and renew the commitment to spread the Gospel, Christian education, charity toward the neediest, contemplative prayer; the commitment to human formation, the spiritual formation of young people and of families; the commitment to justice and peace in the human family,” he said.
“But think about what would happen if there were no sisters in the hospitals, sisters in the missions, sisters in the schools. Think of a Church without sisters! You can’t. They are this gift, this leaven that moves the People of God forward. These are great women who consecrate their life to God, who advance the message of Jesus.”
Before reciting the Angelus, Pope Francis urged the faithful to pray for those who are contemplating entering religious life, especially young people.
“We must pray that many young people answer “yes” to the Lord’s call to consecrate themselves totally to him in view of a disinterested service to their brothers, of consecrating their life to serve God and their brothers,” he said.