Francis received this Friday the sisters of the Social Service, a society of female apostolic life of pontifical right whose particular purpose is social assistance.
The Holy Father Francis received today, Friday, January 20, a dozen sisters from the Social Service, a society of female apostolic life of pontifical right whose particular purpose is social assistance. In greeting him, on the occasion of its centenary of existence, the Pope praised the charisma of its founder, the Hungarian Marguerite Slachta. During World War II, the Sisters of Social Service saved more than 2,000 Hungarian Jews.
When meeting with the nuns, the pontiff did not deliver his prepared speech and spoke informally with the nuns. In the text delivered, he praised his foundress and encouraged the nuns to continue their work and give love.
The Sisters of the Social Service embraced the social mission of the Catholic Church and Benedictine spirituality with special devotion to the Holy Spirit, which is why Francisco began his greeting by thanking them for their presence at the celebration of the first centenary of the foundation, and assured that it is important because “For the Church, every charism is a gift from God, who grants her, through the Holy Spirit, the most necessary graces at every moment of history.”
“And therein lies the mystery”, Francisco continued, “the gifts we receive from people and what we can create with our own strength get old and spoil. Instead, the gifts of the Spirit have an ever new life and in every circumstance of time and place they regenerate and reinvent themselves, remaining faithful to their roots.
Faith and coherence of life
Then he highlighted the figure of the founder Margit Slachta who transmitted the charism to the religious: “I was surprised that, even as a consecrated woman, your founder maintained such an active political commitment. Her affirmation during the Holocaust that the precepts of the faith obliged the sisters to protect the Jews at the risk of their own lives is impressive.
“It is a truth that we find difficult to admit: many martyrs died for the faith, not for the denial of a simple freedom to worship their God, but for the coherence of life that this faith imposed on them and, consequently, for the defense of freedom, justice and truth”.
“These circumstances at the beginning of the last century – the Pope observed – with the social changes that paved the way for world wars, were crucial moments in which God encouraged the birth of his Company. Times are also like that, and today, as then, the call to be witnesses is still valid”.
How beautiful it would be, the Pope’s speech says, if the words of the founder Margit “resounded in their hearts with the same intensity that they certainly resounded in the first sisters. They are an encouragement for you, teaching you to face social challenges, as they did against Nazism, with the only weapon of charity”.
“Its founder, the Church and the Holy Spirit – continued the Pope – challenge us, always reiterating the same truth: there is no greater love than giving one’s life for others. Social charity, which I mentioned in the encyclical Fratelli tuttiand which permeates the writings of Margit Slachta, are proof of this perennial novelty”.
Finally, the pontiff ends by invoking God to give us “the strength to be witnesses of this love, truth and justice, in the vocation to which he has called us”, citing Blessed Sara Salkaházi, a Hungarian nun who saved his life. of about a hundred Jews during World War II and suffered martyrdom for it.+