For over ninety years the Santa Marta Dispensary has provided medical assistance to children and families in need and is based just a stone’s throw away from the Pope’s residence inside the Vatican.
The Dispensary was established in 1922 by Pope Pius XI, and was visited by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2005. In the Paul VI hall on Sunday, Pope Francis was greeted by 800 people, including volunteers, doctors, nurses and families assisted by the Dispensary.
Children teach us to humble ourselves
In words of thanks to those gathered, the Pope said that if Our Lady had lived in Rome she would have taken Jesus to this dispensary, for sure. The Pope noted that “working with children is not easy, but it teaches us a lot”, he said. “It teaches me one thing: that in order to understand the reality of life, you have to lower yourself, as we lower ourselves to kiss a child. They teach us this. The proud, the proud cannot understand life, because they are not able to lower themselves. “All of us” , Pope Francis continued, “professionals, organizers, nuns, all - give many things to children, but they give us this announcement, this teaching: to lower oneself. Lower yourself, be humble, and in this way you will learn to understand life and people. And all of you have this ability to lower yourselves. Thank you so much for this, thank you so much!”
Christmas and Birthday greetings
On the occasion of the Pope’s Birthday, which he celebrates on December 17th, a large cake had been prepared. After wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Pope Francis joked, “I hope there is no indigestion with that big cake!”