By Vatican News
The Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation is a non-profit organization that manages 28 nursing homes, healthcare and rehabilitation centres across Italy. It was founded over 60 years ago by an Italian priest, Don Carlo Gnocchi, who died in 1956 and was declared Blessed in 2009.
Blessed Don Carlo Gnocchi
In his remarks to members of the Foundation, Pope Francis called Blessed Don Carlo Gnocchi “an apostle of charity who served Christ heroically in children, young people, the poor and the suffering”. The Pope described the life of Don Gnocchi from when he was a military chaplain during the Second World War, and how afterwards, “he worked tirelessly for the wounded and dying”, creating an organization to assist orphans and children injured during the conflict.
The Don Gnocchi Foundation
“Inspired by the care, gentleness and sensitivity of Blessed Carlo Gnocchi”, said the Pope to those present, “you are called to combine social service, health care and evangelizing action in the concreteness of everyday life”. Although times have changed since the Foundation was created 60 years ago, it is important to continue with the same spirit, style and attitude of Don Gnocchi, he said.
Competence and compassion
The meaning and value of providing health care services to our sick brothers and sisters are demonstrated “in the ability to combine competence and compassion”, continued Pope Francis. Competence is the fruit of training, experience and keeping updated. It is a guarantee “when you go against the tide with respect to the dominant culture”, in this case, “when you devote time and resources to fragile life”, he said.
Compassion means, "to suffer with". A society that is unable to welcome, protect and give hope to the suffering, “is a society that has lost its compassion and sense of humanity”, said Pope Francis. “In a social context that favours efficiency over solidarity, your structures are houses of hope”, he said, whose purpose is to protect and enhance the true wellbeing of the sick, the handicapped and the elderly.
Consolation and tenderness
The Pope invited members of the Don Gnocchi Foundation to never tire of serving those most in need “on the challenging frontier of illness and disability”. “Along with the most advanced therapies and techniques for the body”, he said, “offer those who confidently turn to your structures the medicines of the soul, that is, the consolation and tenderness of God”.