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Widowhood is difficult, but consecrated widows show strength of God’s love, says pope

POPE FRANCIS
©VaticanMedia-Foto/CPP
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This vocation is a gift that God is giving the Church

The consecration of widows is a gift of God and bears witness to “the strength of [his] love,” Pope Francis told participants at the international conference of consecrated widows at an audience in the Vatican.

This conference of consecrated widows brings together in Rome some 360 ​​women, all secular and consecrated, mostly from France, but also from Belgium and Africa. The members of the Fraternity of Our Lady of the Resurrection — which turns 75 this year — and the Community of Anne the Prophetess expressed their concern about the fate of the 300 million widows in the world.

While “widowhood is a particularly difficult experience,” Pope Francis immediately acknowledged, consecration in this state of life allows one to testify to the strength of the merciful love of God and to “overcome the trials.”

Consecrated widowhood is a “gift that the Lord gives to his Church,” according to Peter’s Successor. Therefore, turning one’s gaze to Christ, he recommended, allows one to draw courage and perseverance to “give body and soul to offer the best” of oneself.

The experience of these consecrated women shows that it is possible to meet family, professional, and social responsibilities while living the “evangelical counsels,” said the head of the Catholic Church. He praised “the chastity, obedience, and poverty” in which these consecrated women live.

Pope Francis likewise urged them to “be leaven for this world, light for those who walk in darkness and in the shadow of death” and “through the experience of your own frailty, to be close to the little ones and to the poor, to show them God’s tenderness and His closeness in love.”

Before the pope addressed these women, he was given a gift: a “collection of holy stories” from testimonies of widowed people. They want to give hope to the Pope during “difficult times,” they told him before his remarks.

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