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Reflections

 

True path to Freedom found in "Joyful Self-Emptying"

VATICAN CITY, JUN 16, 2000 (VIS) - Pope John Paul today welcomed the Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice, in Rome for their 21st general chapter.

He recalled that their congregation "came to birth at a troubled time in Poland" when "the question of how to regain freedom burned in Polish hearts." Blessed Mary Angela Truszkowska, the congregation's foundress, "proposed a radically different answer to the question of how freedom might be found, drawing her inspiration from St. Francis of Assisi and St. Felix of Cantalice. ... (She) learnt that the true way to freedom was not violence, but joyful self-emptying."

"For the great St. Francis," the Pope continued, "the logic of the Incarnation led him to empty himself of attachment to all things, in order to possess all things in God. ... For St. Felix ... it meant walking the streets of Rome as the 'Capuchin donkey', begging food for his brothers, responding always with his famous 'Deo gratias', and feeding the poor from his alms-sack. For blessed Mary Angela, it meant immersing herself in the suffering of the time, embracing 'the little ones' in a life of action intensely rooted in contemplation."

The Holy Father quoted their foundress: "Love means giving, giving everything that love asks for, giving immediately, without regrets, with joy, and wanting even more to be asked of us." And he highlighted her insistence that at the "heart of the congregation's life ... be devotion above all to the Holy Eucharist and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary."

"Our is a very different world," the Pope said in conclusion, "but we are no less challenged by the spiritual lethargy of our times and by the question of where true freedom lies. ... For the Felician Sisters, this must mean an ever more radical fidelity to the program of life bequeathed to you by your foundress."

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