In a message sent the Religious Association of Social and Health Care Institutes (ARIS) on the occasion of its 40th anniversary of its founding, Pope John Paul II recalled that it is a duty of Christians to help the those in pain to find meaning in suffering.

“Frequently,” writes the Pontiff, “it is difficult for those who live in situations of intense pain and sorrow to understand the meaning and significance of life.  It is therefore important that there is somebody by their side to support and help them, like the Good Samaritan.” 

“People like Mother Teresa,” the Pope continues, “who was recently beatified, bear witness in a simple yet specific way to the charity and compassion of Our Lord toward those who are suffering, the sick and ostracized, and the dying.  While they nurse their bodily wounds, they help them to encounter Christ who, through death, revealed the complete value of life in all its phases and conditions.”

The Pope concludes the message by expressing his appreciation for the association’s work in many countries, “especially in mission territories. You help young Churches to run homes for the sick and suffering and to prepare qualified health and pastoral care workers.  This collaboration among ecclesiastical communities in the North and South of the world must intensify.”