By Vatican News staff writer
Pope Francis on Monday greeted participants at the General Chapter of the Congregation Notre-Dame – Canonesses of St. Augustine. Addressing the sisters in the Vatican, the Pope gave thanks to the Lord “for the work of his Spirit which is manifested in your educational charism, at the service of the new generations and of families, for an integral humanism and a more fraternal world”.
Following the founders
The Pope noted that “today, we are faced with the challenge of the formation and education of the human person”. Faithful to the evangelical intuitions of their founders, St Pierre Fourrier and Blessed Alix Le Clerc, the sisters are “committed to popular education, education in the faith, education in justice and closeness to the poor”, added the Pope. He then went on to encourage them to be missionary disciples and communities of hope and joy in the various countries in which they work.
Pope Francis then went on to discuss the theme chosen for their Chapter: “The Educational Pact of the Congregation of Our Lady”. He described it as “a strong invitation to reflect on the new possible ways of reaching out to young people in their daily reality, in order to contribute to their integral development”. He added that in the face of the challenges and dangers that beset young people, “I hope that your commitment and enthusiasm, forged in the power of the Gospel, will restore to them a taste for life and the desire to build a society worthy of the name”.
Being counted on
“I count on you”, continued the Pope, adding that he and the Church both have confidence in them. “By your words, your actions and your witness, you send a powerful message to the world which rejects the vulnerable”. Thank you for your charism, he said, bringing his address to a close, he explained that this charism “aims to make each person discover the love of Christ” and that the sisters “contribute to opening up new horizons and creating spaces for fraternity”.
“Dear sisters”, concluded the Pope, “at this time, when the Covid-19 pandemic has produced a multifaceted crisis, in particular a strong impact on education and young people, I invite you to be closer to the people who experience isolation, sadness and discouragement”.
FInally, he entrusted each sister to the Lord and to the Virgin Mary, and blessed them from his heart.