Exchange of pearls of tenderness

Here we are, back in our little village on the hilltop of Tre Fontane after a very special day. This morning, we little sisters gathered in Chapter, were received by the Pope.

On the way home, L Sr Moksha-Rakini (Indian), was still very emotional as she told to me how touched she had been by the way Pope Francis welcomed each of us with his beautiful smile. She treasured the words whereby he encouraged us to, “continue in the daily, faithful gift of our lives, despite the challenges we face, despite our lack of vocations… For me, this means continuing to faithfully live our ordinary lives with joy”.

It is this joy that shines in the eyes of my sisters on the way home.

L Sr Merved continues: “I was deeply moved by my personal encounter with Pope Francis, even though it only lasted a few moments. I told him that I am Iraqi and that I live in Bethlehem. He replied: “from Abraham to Jesus”. This exchange brought me straight back to my identity and my mission. In front of him, I felt like a little child and I spontaneously asked him: “Can I give you a hug? From that embrace I felt a great gentleness, and at the heart of that gentleness a great strength, something very good that gives me courage for my life. I received a lot from this encounter and I went away feeling like a happy little child.  This true and intense encounter remains engraved in my heart.”

Then L Sr Norma (Colombian) shared with me: “I felt that he is a man who is true. He showed us his vulnerability and that invites me not to be afraid of our own. This confirms me in what we are experiencing in Cuba as little sisters: we are few in number, we come from other countries and we are faced with an increasingly difficult situation that leads to despair. His words invite us to discover the signs of life and hope within this situation.”

As for me, I keep in my heart the invitation to sow… to be pearls of tenderness wherever we are. I don’t know how often I’ve managed to do this, but in my memory faces start to flash by, faces that have dotted my life with kindness and tenderness, faces I’ve met along the way when rubbing shoulders with my colleagues at work, among our neighbours from all over the world, in the life shared with our gypsy friends and today among my sisters at Tre Fontane. The Pope’s invitation then begins to take on a different tone: I am quite simply called to give back what I have largely received…

L. sr. Clemence with L. srs. Norma, Merved and Moksha-Rakini

–> Address of Pope Francis to participants in the general chapter of the Little Sisters of Jesus