Pope speaks at 25th anniversary celebration of Vatican women's shelter

Unbridled capitalism has taught people that money is more important than anything else, said Pope Francis during an event to mark the 25th anniversary of the Missionaries of Charity soup kitchen and women’s shelter at the Vatican.

“Unbridled capitalism has taught the logic of profit at any cost, of giving in order to receive, of exploitation without looking at the person,” said Pope Francis, before adding that the results of such attitudes can be seen “in the crisis we are now living through.”

The Dono di Maria (Gift of Mary) facility, where the nuns who work for the Missionaries of Charity are based, is situated inside the Vatican walls near the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Paul VI audience hall; it serves meals to about 60 people each day and offers accommodation to 25 women.

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“In these years, how many times you have bent down to those in need like the good Samaritan?” the Pope told the sisters on Tuesday. “You have looked into their eyes, you have given them a hand to help them up. How many mouths you have fed with patience and dedication? How many wounds, especially spiritual ones, you have bound up.”

Pope Francis said modern men and women need to recover their understanding of what a gift is, what it means to offer something without expecting anything in return and what it means to be in solidarity with the suffering.

Following the Indian tradition, the sisters placed a garland of flowers around the Pope’s neck as he arrived for the visit.

Pope Francis said the shelter should be “a strong reminder to us all – the Church and the city of Rome – to be ever more a family, a ‘home’ that is ready to welcome, to give attention, to foster brotherhood.”

Blessed John Paul II gave the building to Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta May 21, 1988, and visited the facility and the people it serves eight times. Benedict XVI also visited the shelter.

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