Pope to Daughters of Our Lady of the Garden: Be an inspiration of caring
By Vatican News Staff reporter
The Daughters of Our Lady of the Garden began their General Chapter on the eve of the Solemnity of St Joseph, and Pope Francis told them that he liked to think they wanted to entrust their work and success to “the craftsman of Nazareth.”
A founding father
The Pope noted that their Founder, Saint Anthony Maria Gianelli, was very much like St Joseph, in that both men were apostles of the “Gospel of work, an essential element of personal, family, and social life.”
With his works of mercy, said Pope Francis, Saint Gianelli “showed the way to holiness and attracted people to follow it, setting an example of concrete and caring charity for the least and the most marginalized in society.”
The theme of this 20th General Chapter is: "Attentive to the world, with our hearts in God," which the Pope remarked, “translates well the Gianellian inspiration of caring, of being neighbourly, of doing good, rooted in a life consecrated to the Lord.” He invited them to "Go out to the peripheries, because it is there we witness God."
"You have certainly wondered how to respond to the current challenge of a culture of self-referentiality," noted the Pope. "It leads us to indifference, to not taking care of others, to looking the other way, to selfishness, which upsets the order of human relations and opens up to the many shortcuts of slavery, injustice, exploitation, which offend the dignity of people."
The Daughters of Our Lady of the Garden is present in many countries encountering many situations of suffering and poverty.
“Your mission to evangelize also encounters obstacles and resistance, but, following the example of St Anthony Gianelli, instead of being discouraged, you face these difficulties with confidence and hope, knowing that you yourselves are the first poor and needy of God,” said the Pope.
Attentive to the world
During his address, Pope Francis offered members of the Congregation present some words of advice for their reflection and their journey focused around being "attentive to the world."
He told them that being “attentive to the world - in the evangelical sense - is someone who knows how to be surprised, someone who is open to grasping the seeds of God's kingdom present in reality."
“Attention,” he said, should be “knowing how to take situations and people as they are.”
The second emphasis: “attentive to the world is someone who does not remain ‘on the balcony’, does not observe with detachment, but approaches, bends down, touches with his hand,” the Pope underlined.
“Attention, therefore, means closeness, being close to others, caring.”
The Pope also urged the Sisters to be on their guard against any form of “gossip” which, he said, “destroys one's identity.”
Go forward with trust
In conclusion, Pope Francis thanked the Sisters for their “presence in the midst of the People of God and close to the poorest."
“Let problems and difficulties not frighten you,” he said. “Go forward with trust in Providence, always faithful to your original charism.”