Message of Pope Francis
General Chapter, 2022
To the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor
On the occasion of the General Chapter of your Congregation, I assure you of my spiritual proximity. You have chosen as your theme for this year: “Prompted by the Spirit, let us advance along the path of charity and humility following Sister Mary of the Cross.” During this time of prayer and reflection, I invite you to return continually to the source of your consecrated life: the encounter and loving following of Jesus poor, chaste and obedient, and to your response of authentic love without compromises, in imitation of Jesus (cf. Homily 22nd World Day for Consecrated Life, February 2, 2018). One of the missions of the consecrated person is to witness to the liberty of the children of God. Just as Christ was sent on a mission, we too are sent to serve our brothers. The poverty which Christ assumed in the Incarnation makes us available and sensitive to welcome the ‘magisterium of frailty’ which older people offer us (cf. General Audience, June 1, 2022). In contrast to today’s world, which flees our elders in a throwaway culture, your welcoming and loving service of their frailty is a source of hope for the world. ‘A long life – so the Bible teaches – is a blessing, and the elderly are not outcasts to be shunned but living signs of the goodness of God who bestows life in abundance. Blessed is the house where an older person lives!’ (Message for the 2nd World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, July 24, 2022).
I invoke upon you the Holy Spirit, the light of understanding, that He may guide you in your work, He, the ardent fire of charity, who inflames your hearts so that you may be revived as you journey following Jesus Christ and be renewed in the humble daily service of the Lord in his most abandoned members: our elders. Entrusting you to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary, as well as to the intercession of St. Joseph and the prayer of St. Jeanne Jugan, I willingly give you my Blessing. Please continue to pray for me.
From St. John Lateran, July 12, 2022