Are you wondering what Franciscans might think about Pope Francis’ latest media recognition? Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity respond to the news of Pope Francis being named Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’.
Pope Francis is a good selection for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, because it is an honor he would not seek. Following the example of St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis does not live out the social expectations of the Church or the World, but rather the loving compassion of God. He embraces every person, recognizing the dignity of each one as a loved child of God. In so doing, Pope Francis invites each of us to do the same. There is no distinction. He points all people to see the poor, the weakest and most vulnerable in our family, neighbor, co-worker and world. We are called to learn from the poor to hope and trust in the goodness that is within each person, responding with gifts and talents to help create a better world. Pope Francis would gladly confer this honor on the poor who in turn point his heart of service to God. - Sister Natalie Binversie, OSF, Community Director
I believe that Time Magazine’s choice of Pope Francis for Person of the Year affirms at least two desires written into the human heart: the desire for God who is love, and the desire for credible testimony to this God who is love. It seems to me that the world embraces Pope Francis because in his embrace of the poor and of a simple life, Pope Francis exudes credibility. The images of Pope Francis that are most emblazoned on my memory are those of him embracing seriously disfigured individuals. In embracing these individuals, it is almost as if the Pope embraces each one of us in our existence with all of our ambiguities and disfigurements. I know that this is one of the principle reasons I am moved by Pope Francis. Some might think that being elected Pope gives an individual power; and at a certain level this is true. It seems to me, however, that Pope Francis’ simplicity shows that he possesses something far deeper and more powerful than “power”. Pope Francis has shown himself to be a man whose vital faith gives him authority – an authority so credible that he is able to move other hearts to faith. Like the Lord Jesus and his patron St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis evangelizes with his very life. -Sister Marie Kolbe Zamora, OSF; Silver Lake College of the Holy Family
As we Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, these past 12 months, found ourselves walking with the Church through the Year of Faith, led first by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and lately by Pope Francis, our spirits have been gladdened and our souls strengthened with our Church reaching out to the needs of today’s world.
Our Community charism, service to the Church, always foremost in our legacy, is encouraged as we seek to live out the words Pope Francis recently spoke: “Let us try to be a Church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself.”
We pray for this courageous leader who was recently recognized as “Person of the Year,” honored as he embraces today’s world, so hungry for the touch of human kindness. May his leadership enable the Church and all its faithful to fulfill the dream he shares with his and our patron, our Holy Father, Saint Francis of Assisi. -Sister Martin Flavin, OSF; FSCC Sponsored Ministries
Beginning in 1927, Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” was meant to profile a person, group, idea or objects that “for better or for worse, has done the most to influence the events of the year.” It is highly evident that Pope Francis has made gigantic waves this past year! Aside from insisting on the most humble dwellings he could find in the Vatican, openly condemning economic injustices in the world, calling for reforms in the Roman Curia, and targeting financial corruption in the Vatican Bank, Francis has been busy refocusing the Church’s mission towards the world’s poor and the embracing of the Gospel life. It has been a long time, it seems, since the fiery charisma of Pope John Paul II and the world is looking to the Church for renewal and a wider lens with which to view itself. Pope Francis’ witty, sharp, relaxed and open demeanor has captured the hearts of millions and has reinvigorated a sleepy Church. There is worldwide hope that his style will bring new understanding to what evangelization means and a new light to the good that is within the Church. It is my personal hope that people will use Francis’ style as a catalyst to their own personal change and growth, always remembering that one man does not make the Church. He aids it by his leadership and, by his life, encourages us to do the same. -Sister Regina Rose Pearson, OSF, St. Peter the Fisherman Pastoral Associate
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