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Vatican Basilica
Sunday, 13 November 2005


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today, the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, we have the joy of venerating three new Blesseds:  Charles de Foucauld, priest; Maria Pia Mastena, Foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Face; and Maria Crocifissa Curcio, Foundress of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, three people who in different ways dedicated their lives to Christ and presented anew to every Christian the sublime ideal of holiness.

I cordially greet you all, dear friends, who have come from various parts of the world to take part in this solemn expression of faith. I greet in particular Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and thank him for presiding at the Eucharistic celebration, during which he read out the Apostolic Letter with which I added these Servants of God to the Roll of Blesseds.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Let us give thanks for the witness borne by Charles de Foucauld. In his contemplative and hidden life in Nazareth, he discovered the truth about the humanity of Jesus and invites us to contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation; in this place he learned much about the Lord, whom he wanted to follow with humility and poverty.

He discovered that Jesus, who came to join us in our humanity, invites us to universal brotherhood, which he subsequently lived in the Sahara, and to love, of which Christ gave us the example. As a priest, he placed the Eucharist and the Gospel at the heart of his life, the two tables of the Word and of the Bread, source of Christian life and mission.

I address a cordial greeting to all those who have come here to pay homage to Bl. Maria Pia Mastena. I greet in a special way the pilgrims from Bovolone, where she was born, and from the town of San Fior, where her mortal remains are preserved, as well as the faithful who have come from various Italian Dioceses, Brazil and Indonesia.

The charism of Bl. Maria Pia is more current than ever. Won over by the Face of Christ, she assumed the Son of God's sentiments of sweet concern for humanity disfigured by sin, put into practice his acts of compassion and subsequently planned an Institute whose aim was to "propagate, repair and restore Jesus' gentle image in souls". May this new Blessed obtain for all who venerate her with affection and devotion the gift of a constant yearning for holiness.

I now greet the pilgrims who have come from various regions in Italy and the world to honour Bl. Maria Crocifissa Curcio. My cordial thoughts go to each and every one, especially those who belong to the spiritual Family of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus. This new Blessed placed at the centre of her life the presence of Merciful Jesus, discovered and adored in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

An authentic passion for souls marked the life of Mother Maria Crocifissa, who dynamically encouraged "spiritual reparation" in order to reciprocate Jesus' love for us. Her life was a continual prayer, even when she went to serve the people, especially poor and needy girls. May Bl. Maria Crocifissa Curcio continue from Heaven to watch over the Congregation she founded and over all her followers.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us thank the Lord for the gift of these new Blesseds and do our utmost to imitate their examples of holiness. May their intercession help us to live in fidelity to Christ and to his Church.

I accompany these wishes with the assurance of my cordial remembrance in prayer, while I impart my Apostolic Blessing to all of you present here and to all your loved ones.



© Copyright 2005 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione - Libreria Editrice Vaticana