MADRID (EWTN News/CNA) — Pope Benedict XVI met with young religious sisters and later with young university professors on Aug. 19 at the royal site of El Estorial. He emphasized the importance of the sisters’ radical consecration and urged the professors to be a source of encouragement for students.
“The Pope spoke about a personal encounter with Christ, and that (encounter) is what fulfills us,” said Sister Ruth Martin, a 38-year-old sister of the recently founded religious community Ieuso Communio.
“It was a huge privilege — a great joy!” she told EWTN News, amid the cheering and singing of sisters from various communities.
The sisters of Ieuso Communio, as young as 18 years old, caught the attention of those present because of their denim habits, which symbolize the current day and age.
Pope Benedict told the group of more than 1,000 sisters gathered that the Church needs their “youthful fidelity, rooted and built up in Christ.”
“Thank you for your generous, total and perpetual ‘Yes’ to the call of the Loved One,” he continued.
“Your lives must testify to the personal encounter with Christ which has nourished your consecration and to all the transforming power of that encounter.”
The Pope said, referring to his World Youth Day message, that this witness is “all the more important today when we see a certain ‘eclipse of God’ taking place, a kind of amnesia which, albeit not an outright rejection of Christianity, is nonetheless a denial of the treasure of our faith, a denial that could lead to the loss of our deepest identity.
“In a world of relativism and mediocrity, we need that radicalism to which your consecration, as a way of belonging to the God who is loved above all things, bears witness.”
Lorena Amador, a 27-year-old member of the Trinitarian Sisters of Madrid, noted that the large gathering of religious sisters is an encouragement for “young women who might feel called to the consecrated life to take the leap of faith.”
In his address to university professors, the Pope stated that “young people need authentic teachers: persons open to the fullness of truth in the various branches of knowledge, persons who listen to and experience in own hearts that interdisciplinary dialogue; persons who, above all, are convinced of our human capacity to advance along the path of truth.”
He encouraged the more than 1,000 professors gathered to “never lose that sense of enthusiasm and concern for truth. Always remember that teaching is not just about communicating content, but about forming young people.
“You need to understand and love them, to awaken their innate thirst for truth and their yearning for transcendence. Be for them a source of encouragement and strength.”
The Pope also explained that professors must be a source of understanding and love, as well as reason and faith: “We cannot come to know something unless we are moved by love.”