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Pope says Missionaries of Charity shelter in Vatican is witness of God's love



(May 22, 2013) Marking the 25th anniversary of the Missionaries of Charity soup kitchen and women's shelter at the Vatican, Pope Francis said that while unbridled capitalism has taught people that money is more important than anything else, works of Christian charity witness to God's love for each person. "Unbridled capitalism has taught the logic of profit at any cost, of giving, in order to receive, of exploitation without looking at the person. The results of such attitudes, we see in the crisis we are now living through," Pope Francis said on Tuesday (May 21), visiting the shelter called "Dono di Maria" or "Gift of Mary" run by the nuns of Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata. The Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity – Sr. Prema, placed a garland of flowers around the Pope’s neck as he arrived for the visit.
The shelter is inside the Vatican walls near Paul VI audience hall, and serves meals to about 60 people each day and offers accommodation to some 50 to 70 women. "In these years, how many times you have bent down to those in need like the good Samaritan," the pope told the sisters. "You have looked into their eyes; you have given them a hand to help them up. How many mouths you have fed with patience and dedication. How many wounds, especially spiritual ones, you have bound up." Pope Francis said modern men and women need to recover their understanding of what a gift is, what it means to offer something without expecting anything in return and what it means to be in solidarity with the suffering. For Christians, he said, charity is not a social obligation, but a sharing of "the love of God, the charity of God." Pope Francis said the shelter, should be "a strong reminder to us all - the church and the city of Rome - to be ever more a family, a 'home' that is ready to welcome, to give attention, to foster brotherhood."Blessed John Paul II gave the building to Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta May 21, 1988, and visited the facility and the people it serves eight times. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI also visited the shelter. Pope Francis said that between the beatified pope and the beatified founder of the Missionaries of Charity, the Dono di Maria is "something between saints and between the blessed." He told the women who live at the shelter that the house really is theirs since it was planned and opened for them. He said “While it may have been a gift to you in your need, you are a gift to this house and to the church. You tell us that loving God and your neighbour isn't something abstract, but profoundly concrete; that means seeing in every person the face of the Lord to be served and to serve him concretely.
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