Pope Launches Appeal for Refugees

Sends Greetings to Beatification of French Martyr

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SERRAVALLE, San Marino, JUNE 19, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI launched for an appeal for the dignified treatment of refugees on the eve of the UN's World Day for Refugees.

Speaking today after celebrating Mass in the Olympic Stadium of Serravalle, at the beginning of his one-day pastoral visit to the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro, the Pope appealed to civil authorities and "all people of good will to guarantee a welcome and dignified living conditions for refugees, until they can freely and safely return to their homeland."

He noted that Monday is World Refugee Day, and that this year marks the 60th anniversary "of the adoption of the international convention to protect those who are persecuted and forced to flee their own countries."

The theme for the 2011 World Refugee Day is "One Refugee Without Hope Is too Many." According to the United Nations, millions of refugees face murder, rape and terror every day.

Luminous witness

Benedict XVI also sent greetings to Dax, France, where Sister Marguerite Rutan, a professed sister of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, was proclaimed blessed.

Rutan was born in 1736 in Dax, where she lived her life as a nun and was later martyred in 1794.

"In the second half of the 18th century [Sister Marguerite] worked with great commitment in the hospital in Dax, but in the tragic persecution following the Revolution, she was sentenced to death for her Catholic faith and fidelity to the Church," the Pope said.

He added, "I participate spiritually in the joy of the Daughters of Charity and of all the faithful who, in Dax, are taking part in the beatification of Sister Marguerite Rutan, luminous witness of the love of Christ for the poor."

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-32891?l=english