Pope: Don’t be ashamed to cry before the pain of others

Marking the 50th anniversary of the St. Angela Merici Foundation, Pope Francis receives a group of its members and reflects on its mission to serve the most vulnerable.

Apr 08, 2024

Pope Francis receives members of the St. Angela Merici Foundation (Vatican Media)

By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis on Saturday upheld the inspiration and commitment of the St. Angela Merici Foundation which is based in Sicily, expressing gratitude for its daily effort to serve the most vulnerable people.

He recalled how the foundation's journey began decades ago, and highlighted a significant event that took place in 1953 when a small painting in the home of the Iannuso family depicting Our Lady began to weep.

Those tears, the Pope said, symbolize the compassionate gaze of our heavenly Mother, shedding tears for the suffering of her children.

"These tears speak to us of God's compassion for all of us," he added. "We must think about this: the compassion of God."

“We must think of the compassion of God.”

In the face of such suffering, the Pope said, the Foundation emerged as a beacon of hope and solace, dedicated to drying the tears of those in need. Through their daily work, professionality and sacrificial spirit,  it strives to translate the tears shed by the Virgin Mary into tangible acts of kindness and support.

"The foundation exists to express in concrete actions the tears shed by the Virgin Mary and at the same time her maternal desire to dry the tears of her children," he said.

Commenting on how the heart of the foundation's mission lies in its commitment to accompany the suffering, support the weak, and care for the vulnerable, the Holy Father said: "You, brothers and sisters, seek to do just that: to dry the tears of those who suffer, to accompany those in pain, to support the weakest in society."

Noting how the foundation draws its strength and inspiration from the Gospel and is steadfast in its dedication to embodying the teachings of Jesus Christ, he encouraged those present to continue on this path.

“The source of your work is the Gospel, remain attached to this source!”

Pope Francis concluded inviting foundation members to celebrate this significant milestone going forward in their journey with compassion and grace, never shying away from shedding tears for those in need, for it is in these moments of vulnerability that we encounter the presence of the divine.

“Please, do not be ashamed to cry, to feel moved by those who suffer; do not spare yourselves in exercising compassion for the fragile, because in these people, Jesus is present.”--Vatican News

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