Pope Francis and the Assumption Family

Friday, March 29, 2013

 

The Assumption Family rejoices with the whole Church on the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, as our new Pope.

 

Pope Francis has strong ties to the Little Sisters of the Assumption, as you will read from the following article.

 

We assure you of our prayers and our loving support, Holy Father, as you assume this new mission.Viva il Papa!

 

Pope Francis and the Little Sisters of the Assumption: A Story of Love and Service

-- from the Little Sisters of the Assumption, Southern Zone of Latin America

 

The first Little Sisters of the Assumption arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1910 and later spread out to other countries in Latin America. That is something we celebrated and recounted on this page. The first community was located in a working-class and poor area, with many tenements. In 1932 a second community was opened in a more outlying area and settled in the district of Flores where there were simple houses, working families and many immigrants. One of these families were the couple Mario Jos Bergoglio and Regina Mara Svori, Italian immigrants. This working family asked for the help of the Little Sisters when their first child, Jorge Mario, was born on the 17th of December 1936. It was an Irish sister (Sr Oliva) who gave them the care they needed. The following year a girl was born and they again called on the sisters. This time it was Sister Antonia Ariceta (Argentinian) who cared for them, looking after the mother and the two children, since Jorge was still very small. Their parents and grandmother became active members of the Fraternity and of the Daughters of St Monica, groups of laity that were very dynamic in the Flores community.

Jorge Mario kept, as something very precious, the cross that used to be given to the "Monicas" and which had belonged to his grandmother. On one occasion he mentioned that he kept it beside his bed and "it is the first thing I see when I wake up."

He kept up close contact with the sisters and, after he was appointed Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he used to visit Sr Antonia and the La Inmaculada community regularly, keeping up a close and fraternal contact. When Antonia celebrated her diamond jubilee, in January 1999, he celebrated the Eucharist in our house, recalling with great affection that she had carried him in her arms when he was a baby and all the care he had received; both of them recounted some vivid anecdotes. He asked us to keep him informed about Antonia's health, particularly as she was getting older. So we had very frequent and easy contact with him.

On various occasions he talked with some sisters who worked in the hospital for infectious diseases and in Villa 6, and his pastoral or spontaneous visits to the families of the Villa were marked by special attention to the sick, especially the
poorest and weakest. On the 15th of August 2010 he presided at the celebration for the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Little Sisters.

That is the reason why we wanted to share with you the bonds that unite us to this priest who grew up in a family that shared the charism and the spirituality of our Congregation and who now, by the will of God, is our Pope Francis.

We rejoice with the whole Church and with all those who, whatever their religion, share in this special time. It is surprising to see (at least in Argentina) the positive reaction of people who, while not being Catholics, show that they now have more hope and the desire to continue working for justice, peace and the dignity of persons. They have the desire to continue struggling against corruption, insecurity etc., in the midst of the complex situation that is ours, whereas they had been very discontented and weary from struggling. May the Holy Spirit enlighten Francis in this difficult mission, and may the little Virgin of Lujn (to whom he has great devotion) protect and encourage him, as she encouraged her son Jesus.