Missionaries of Charity a Beacon in a World Taken by Greed, Pope Says

Mother Teresa's Congregation Holding Its General Chapter

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ROME, FEB. 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II encouraged the Missionaries of Charity to remain faithful to their charism serving the poorest of the poor and to give witness with their lives to evangelical poverty.



The Pope did so in a letter Saturday addressed to Sister Nirmala Joshi, the superior general, on the occasion of the eighth general chapter of the congregation founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

This is the first time that members from around the world are meeting since the death of their foundress, who will be beatified Oct. 19.

The Holy Father said that through their work, the Missionaries of Charity can be a luminous example "for people today, especially the younger generation, who find themselves in situations not just of material need but also of spiritual impoverishment."

"In a world so often consumed by greed, your own humble yet rich lives of evangelical poverty eloquently proclaim that God is the true wealth of the human heart," he added.

The great variety of cultural and social settings in which the congregation carries out its mission calls for a program of continuing formation of its members, the Pope said.

"Make every effort to ensure that permanent formation is provided for all your members: for it is in this way that they will deepen their consecration to the Lord and that their love of Jesus and others will grow," the papal message states.

Lastly, the Holy Father encourages the congregation to follow the example of their foundress, who "was always filled with the boundless inner strength of Christ's own love."

"Sustained by the silence of contemplation, she tirelessly brought the love of Christ to the very people in whom she found Christ," the Pope notes.

"This is what enabled her to be a Missionary of Charity both in name and in fact," John Paul II concludes.