"The Master is there!" By remembering the humble origins of an Italian Congregation of Sisters, the Pope highlights the power of Eucharistic adoration for all Catholics.
On August 25, 2023 Pope Francis received at the Vatican the Sisters Disciples of the Eucharistic Jesus, on the 100th anniversary of their foundation. This Congregation, born in 1923 in a rural village of southern Italy, affected by the aftermaths of the First World War and the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic, is today present across the world with a charisma that is firmly anchored in the mystery of the Eucharist. By remembering the Congregation’s humble beginnings, Pope Francis highlighted the power that prayer and Eucharistic adoration can have for all Catholics.
Fill with “tenderness the wounds” of sin by adoring the Eucharist
In his speech, Pope Francis remembered that the Congregation was created by the Venerable Bishop Raffello Delle Nocche, who, upon arriving in the underdeveloped diocese of Tricarico in 1922, realized a religious congregation was needed to help his faithful. He thus founded the Sisters Disciples of the Eucharistic Jesus the following year, centering their life around the Eucharist as “a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity.”
These three elements translate into “worshiping, serving, and repairing,” the Pontiff explained, recalling the Sisters’ charism.
Filling with tenderness the wounds and voids produced by sin in man and society, begins by getting down on one’s knees before Jesus in the Consecrated Host, and remaining there for a long time
“Filling with tenderness the wounds and voids produced by sin in man and society, begins by getting down on one’s knees before Jesus in the Consecrated Host, and remaining there for a long time, as the good bishop recommended that we do,” Pope Francis encouraged. “Even when it seems we feel nothing, in quiet and trusting abandonment, because ‘Magister adest,’ ‘the Master is there!'”
Unleash a war “against poverty and injustice” and an “epidemic of love”
“By the world’s standards this strategy of action seemed absurd: in the face of immense needs and with almost no resources available, what sense could there be in telling the sisters to get down on their knees to ‘worship and repair?’” Pope Francis asked, highlighting the poverty that affected the population of the Diocese of Tricarico.
“Yet, as always, the way of faith and of giving up oneself worked! Indeed, the prayer of those courageous women generated a contagious force, which soon led them to undertake and promote works of material, cultural, and spiritual redemption far exceeding all expectations.”
The Sisters “unleashed a different ‘war’: against poverty, against injustice; and they spread a different epidemic: that of love,” the Pope said.
Look at others through the “magnifying glass of the consecrated Host”
Despite the growth of the Congregation, the Pope recognizes that there are new and different challenges in today’s times. “Therefore, starting from pausing before Jesus in the Eucharist, the broken Bread and the Master who washes the disciples’ feet, you also learn to look at your brothers and sisters through the magnifying glass of the consecrated Host,” Francis encouraged.
The Pontiff also remembered the words of Venerable Bishop Delle Nocche, who called the sisters to be “vasa Domini, that is, “chalices and patens” in which the humble offering of the poor could be received and presented to God.”
“This seems to me to be a beautiful image of your mission: […] to have ‘the bag always empty,’ […] in order to be open and spacious ‘vessels’ ready to welcome everyone and to bring everyone into your heart before God, so that each person can in turn make a gift of his or her life,” the Pope continued.
“Be like this, sisters: vasa Domini, ‘welcoming chalices, kneeling before the Tabernacle and with your arms always wide open to your brothers and sisters!”