This morning, the first full day of Pope Francis’ 15th Apostolic Visit abroad and first trip to Poland, the Pope made a brief visit to the Convent of the Sisters of the Presentation in the Polish city of Krakow.
Francis is visiting Saint John Paul II’s homeland for the occasion of World Youth Day and will also visit Auschwitz and Czestechowa during his trip.
According to a statement released by the Holy See Press Office, Francis met with the convent’s sisters during the visit, as well as with some students from their associated school.
In a message he wrote in the sisters’ guest book, the Holy Father wrote, “With gratitude for your generous service, I give you my blessing and encourage you in your educational apostolate.
“Cultivate with love the seeds of goodness, beauty and truth that God sows in every new generation,” he urged.
Following his visit with them, Francis went to the airport so he could travel to Czestochowa by helicopter. There, the Pope is celebrating Mass for the 1050th Anniversary of the Baptism of Poland.
Deviating from his program after visiting with the sisters and before going to Czestchowa, Francis made a surprise visit to Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, archbishop emeritus of Krakow (1978-2005).
The 89-year-old cardinal was admitted to a local hospital because he has been seriously ill for some time. The Pontiff met him there and they spent a few minutes together in prayer.