top of page






Dear brothers and sisters,

I am very happy to be among you, residents of the Maison Saint-Pierre and to thank Sister Marie Claire and Madame Farsky for the kind words of welcome they addressed to me on your behalf. I am also happy to meet the Archbishop of Southwark, Monsignor Peter Smith, as well as the Little Sisters of the Poor, the staff and the volunteers who watch over you.

As advances in medicine and other factors extend lifespan, it is important to view the presence of increasing numbers of older people as a blessing to society. Each generation can learn from the experience and wisdom of the generation that preceded it. Indeed, caring for the elderly should be seen not so much as an act of generosity as the repayment of a debt of gratitude.

For its part, the Church has always had great respect for elders. The fourth commandment, "Honor your father and your mother as the Lord your God has commanded you" (Dt 5:16), is linked to the promise, "that your days may be long and you may be happy on earth may the Lord your God give you" (Dt 5:16). This work of the Church in favor of the elderly and disabled is not only a bearer of love and care for them; but it is also rewarded by God through the blessings he has promised to the land where this commandment is kept. God wants true respect for the dignity and worth, health and well-being of the elderly;
Through charitable institutions in Britain and beyond, the Church seeks to fulfill the Lord's command to respect life regardless of age or circumstance.

At the very beginning of my pontificate, I said: "Each of us is wanted, each of us is loved, each is necessary" (Homily at the inaugural mass of the pontificate, April 24, 2005). Life is a unique gift, at every stage, from conception to natural death, and it is God alone who gives it and who takes it away. One can enjoy good health in old age; but Christians should not be afraid to share in the sufferings of Christ, if God wants us to wrestle with our infirmities. My predecessor, Pope John Paul II, suffered very visibly during the last years of his life. It was clear to all of us that he was doing this in union with the sufferings of his Saviour.

In this sense, I come among you not only as a father, but also as a brother who knows well the joys and sorrows that come with age! Our long years of life enable us to appreciate both the beauty of God's greatest gift to us, the gift of life, as well as the fragility of the human spirit. Those of us who live long are given a wonderful chance to deepen our awareness of the mystery of Christ, who humbled himself to share our humanity. While the normal length of our lives increases, our physical strength is often diminished: yet this time can be spiritually among the most fruitful of our lives. These years give us the opportunity to remember in loving prayer all those we have cherished in this life, and to present all that we personally have been and all that we have done, before the mercy and tenderness of God. This will certainly be a great spiritual comfort and will allow us to discover his love and goodness in new ways every day of our lives.

Moved by these feelings, dear brothers and sisters, I am happy to assure you of my prayers for you all, and I ask you to pray for me. May Our Lady and Saint Joseph, her husband, intercede for our happiness in this life, and obtain for us the blessing of a serene passage to the next life.

God bless you all! »

Tribute to Benedict XV1

Benedict XVI marked the life of our Congregation with the canonization of our Mother Foundress in 2009 

 In 2010, during one of his trips, he visited our house in London St Peter's and met the Residents and Little Sisters.

The following is the address that he gave on that occasion.


Pope Benedict XV1 with our late Mother General Celine 

bottom of page