Vatican City, 20 April 2015 (VIS) - “I wish to express my gratitude to you for your generous efforts in the service of young women who live in situations of precariousness and suffering”, said the Pope this morning as he received, in the Sala Clementina, seventy members of the International Catholic Association for the Service of Young Women (A.C.I.S.J.F.), founded in Fribourg, Switzerland, by Louise de Reynold in response to the needs of young women who, due to social changes, lived far from their family environment.
The number of these women, as the Pope observed in his address, is increasing, and the many forms of poverty that affect them “call out to us and should inspire a new creativity, to offer them the material and spiritual aid they need. … Through your ongoing activities to welcome them, and through reflection to face the new challenges generated by today's world, such as the phenomenon of migration, your work seeks to be at the service of the life and dignity of the person, demonstrating that 'true faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving … from service”.
The young are most in need of “attention and to be listened to”, and the A.C.I.S.J.F. must help them “to grow in confidence, to find points of reference and to progress in human and spiritual maturity, nourished by Gospel values”, he added. “Be credible witnesses for them, so that they experience the joy of knowing they are loved by God, their Father, and called to happiness. And, at the same time, let yourselves be instructed by these young people whom you accompany and assist. Even amid their difficulties. They often bear witness to those essential virtues of fraternity and solidarity. They also remind us that we are frail and depend on God and on others. May the Lord's merciful gaze touch us and help us to welcome our poverty in order to go ahead trustfully, and to make efforts together in that 'revolution of tenderness' to which Jesus opened the way through his Incarnation”.
He concluded, “I hope that the sense of belonging to the Church, who is a great family, may grow in you. I invite you to continue to announce to all the joy of the Gospel, bear in mind the diversity of cultures, of religious traditions, and of the origins of the young women you wish to serve, as well as their richness that demands to be received with respect”.