ROME — Calling the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul “a great spiritual force in the church and in the world,” Pope Francis urged the sisters to help secure fundamental rights for those they care for, help safeguard creation and pass on Christian values to young people.
“There is so much to do! God calls you to respond with your generosity,” the pope said in a video message to the sisters. “God calls you to meet, to listen, to walk in history, to walk together to share the events of humanity.”
The pope’s message was presented Nov. 20 to those taking part in the congregation’s general assembly Oct. 29-Nov. 21 in Paris. The theme was “Ephata: Cross the threshold; go toward; encounter.”
In his message, the pope said the theme they chose was “courageous” and marked the nature of their congregation from its beginning — “a company of women created to go and bring the love of Christ to the poor.”
They work in many parts of the world, assisting the poor in large institutes, hospitals, orphanages and schools, and also visiting them in the places where they live so as to accompany them on “journeys of human growth, promotion of life and spiritual care,” he said.
“I invite you to look at the beauty of your vocation,” which is beautiful with God entrusting his beloved poor to them, he said.
They are mothers to the poor “because with your love, your attention to all their needs, you generate them to the love of God and you reopen them to the beauty of life,” he said. They are also sisters to the poor “because you support them in their condition and accompany them to rediscover dignity in the many paths of life that you take with them.”
The Daughters of Charity have a historic role as women whose mission leads them to accompany victims of violence and discrimination, raise children who are victims of abuse by adults and to guard and defend life “with your smile, your care and your dedication to the service of the little ones,” the pope said.
“I invite you to work so that everyone may be guaranteed the fundamental rights that ensure a dignified life, to help safeguard our common home, to pass on faith and Christian values to the new generations, and to educate them to care for one another,” he said.