The Pope’s greeting was addressed to Ana María Careaga, daughter of the foundress of the association, Esther Ballestrino de Careaga, a Paraguayan who after being kidnapped in Argentina in 1977 by the police disappeared forever.
Esther, a biochemist, was in charge fo the laboratory where Pope Francis worked as a young man.
The association “Madres de Plaza de Mayo” is named after the iconic square of Buenos Aires, Plaza de Mayo, where mothers of disappeared children marched to on March 30, 1977, in public defiance of the government’s agenda to silence all opposition.
The message of the Holy Father was broadcast in the evening on Monday, May 1, during the programme, "Ahora y Siempre" (Now and Forever) that Ana Maria Careaga conducts on Radio Caput in Buenos Aires.
Below is a translation of the Pope’s audio message:
Dear Ana Maria, these days when one remembers the 30th of April of 1977, the anniversary of the foundation of the "Mothers" [of Plaza de Mayo], when the mothers organized themselves, I very much remember your mother. She worked hard, she was a fighter and together with her many women who fought for justice, both because they had lost their children or simply because mothers who, seeing the drama of so many missing children, came together to fight for this as well.
I am sure that, in addition to their universal recognition, God has them in His heart. They are fighters, they fought for justice and they have taught us the way forward.
I am glad that you are following your mother's footsteps and making them known to others on your radio programme. Hence today, in a special way, I pray for the Mothers, I pray for you, I pray for your mother Esther and I pray for all the men and women of good will who together want to carry forward a plan of justice and brotherhood.