Rome (Italy). It was 13 March 2013, when Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio addressed a packed St. Peter’s Square for his first greeting as Pope and for the “urbi et orbi” blessing, not before, however, as is his style, having asked “the people” for their blessing on him:
“I ask you a favor: before the Bishop blesses the people, I ask you to pray to the Lord to bless me: the prayer of the people, asking for the Blessing for their Bishop”.
In that first conversation with the people there are already budding gestures, silences, and expressions that in these ten years of Pontificate as the 265th Successor of Peter have accustomed the world, not only the Catholic world, to recognize him as a good and compassionate shepherd, close in problems, and present in human vicissitudes, a shepherd “with the smell of sheep”.
March 13, 2013 marks the beginning of “a journey of fraternity, of love, of trust”, words he pronounced on that evening, which are found in many documents and paths carried forward with patience and decision, humility and deep respect for all humankind.
To express gratitude to the Holy Father “for this time of great grace” and assure prayers in the name of all the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians present on the five continents, especially on 13 March, the Mother General of the FMA Institute, Sr. Chiara Cazzuola, together with the Sisters of the General Council, reached Pope Francis with a letter:
With deep gratitude in my heart, I join the whole Church in praising the Lord for the ten years of your Pontificate; a time of great grace which, through your Magisterium, has brought light, support, courage, and hope to the entire human Family.
As the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, we feel that we are a living part of this reality that you take care of with the tenderness of a Father, with apostolic wisdom, with the power of love that knows how to serve by giving life.
Every day we entrust all your intentions to Mary Help of Christians, as our Founders taught us. And with prayer there is the commitment to educate the new generations to be in solidarity with those in need, to make concrete gestures to build universal fraternity, to protect creation with love, to open horizons of hope and a glimpse of light in a time of uncertainty and darkness. All of this is meant to be our simple, small gift to celebrate ten years of your Pontificate.
On behalf of the Sisters of the General Council, of all the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, of the educating communities, and of the young people scattered throughout the world, I renew my thanks for being for us a tangible sign of God’s love and mercy. I ask you with confidence the gift of your blessing on our Institute and on the mission entrusted to us.
Feel us particularly close with prayer and affection on 13 March.