Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - At the end of the general audience on Wednesday 27 March, the Holy Father addressed a special greeting to an 85-year-old missionary nun, who works in Bangui, giving her an honor and paying tribute to all missionaries who consume their lives at the service of the Gospel.
These are the Pope's words: “Dear brothers and sisters, today we have the joy of having a person with us whom I wish to present to you. She is Sr. Maria Concetta Esu, of the Congregation of the Daughters of San Giuseppe di Genoni. And why do I do this? Sister Maria Concetta is 85 years old, and has been a missionary in Africa for almost 60 years, where she serves as a midwife. An applause. I met her in Bangui, when I went to open the Jubilee of Mercy. There she told me that in her life she helped to give birth to thousands of children. Wonderful! Also that day she had come from the Congo in Canoa - at 85 - to go shopping in Bangui.
In these days she came to Rome for a meeting with her sisters, and today she came to the audience with her Superior. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to give her a sign of gratitude and say a big thank you for her testimony!
Dear Sister, on my behalf and on behalf of the Church, I offer you an honor. It is a sign of our affection and of our "thank you" for all the work you have done among African sisters and brothers, in the service of life, of children, mothers and families.
With this gesture dedicated to you, I also intend to express my gratitude to all the missionaries, priests, religious and laity, who spread the seed of the Kingdom of God in every part of the world. Your work, dear missionaries, is great. You "burn" your life sowing the word of God with your testimony ... And in this world you do not make news. You are not news in the newspapers. Cardinal Hummes, who is in charge of the Brazilian episcopate, often visits the cities and villages of the Amazon. And every time he arrives there - he told me himself - he goes to the cemetery and visits the tombs of the missionaries; so many young deaths for diseases against which they do not have antibodies. And he told me: "All of these deserve to be canonized, because they "burned" life in the service.
Dear brothers and sisters, Sister Maria Concetta, after this commitment, will return to Africa these days. Let us accompany her with prayer. And may her example help us all to live the Gospel wherever we are. Thank you, Sister! May the Lord bless you and may Our Lady protect you". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 28/3/2019)