Witness of Mercy
Speaking about St. Nimatullah Kassab Al-Hardini (1808-1858), priest of the Lebanese Maronite Order, the Pope called him a “man of prayer, in love with the Eucharist, which he loved to adore for long periods of time.”
He said St. Nimatullah is “an example for all the monks of the Lebanese Maronite Order, as well as for all his Lebanese brothers and for all Christians worldwide. He gave himself totally to the Lord in a life of great self-denial, showing that the love of God is the only true source of joy and happiness for man. He was determined to seek and to follow Christ, his teacher and Lord.”
Welcoming his brothers and sisters,” added the Pope, “he soothed and healed many wounds in the hearts of his contemporaries, witnessing to them the mercy of God. May his example shed light on our path, inspire in young people in particular a true desire for God and for holiness, to proclaim to our world the light of the Gospel!”
For the unity of the family
The Holy Father then spoke of St. Paola Elisabetta Cerioli (1816-1865), widow and religious, foundress of the Institute of the Sisters of the Holy Family and the Congregation of the Family of Bergamo.
The Pope said her “life was copious in good fruits.” In contemplating the Holy Family, “Contemplating the Holy Family, Paola Elisabetta recognized that family communities remain solid when the bonds of kinship are supported and cemented by the sharing of the values of the faith and of Christian culture. To spread these values, the new saint founded the Institute of the Holy Family.”
She was convinced that children need a healthy and united family which is generous and stable, in order to grow secure and strong. May God help Christian families to accept and witness in every circumstance the love of the merciful God,” he asked.
One of the most moving moments of the ceremony was when the Pope spoke of St. Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962), an Italian mother who was a “simple but particularly significant messenger of Divine love.”
In the presence of her four children and her husband Pietro Molla—now 91 years old—the Pope recalled the witness of Gianna that moved the world when she gave up her own life to save her unborn child, Gianna Emmanuella.
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“Shortly before her wedding, in a letter to her future husband, she wrote: ‘Love is the most beautiful sentiment that the Lord has placed in the spirit of men,” said the Pope.
“Following the example of Christ, who ‘having loved his own ... he loved them to the end’ (John 13:1) this holy mother of a family was heroically faithful to the commitment she took on the day of her marriage. The supreme sacrifice that sealed her life testifies that only the one who has the courage to give himself totally to God and to neighbor finds fulfillment,” said the Pope.
The Pope asked that “our age rediscover, through the example of Gianna Beretta Molla, the pure, chaste and fruitful beauty of conjugal love, lived out in response to the Divine call.”
With the Sunday canonizations, the Pope has proclaimed 483 saints during his pontificate.