VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The pained faces of children with serious medical conditions and the suffering of their families should inspire doctors and nurses to serve with passion and enthusiasm, Pope Francis said.
Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu children’s hospital Nov. 16, the pope encouraged medical professionals to “never to lose the ability to see the suffering face of a child even behind a simple sample to be analyzed, and to hear the cry of parents even within your laboratories.”
“I am reminded of that question, to which it is difficult to find an answer, from the great (Fyodor) Dostoevsky: ‘Why do children suffer?’ Always keep this question alive: ‘Why does a child suffer?'”
Pope Francis said there is no answer to the question, but it must lead to greater care for a suffering child and more prayers to God to intervene.
Founded in 1869 by Duchess Arabella and Duke Scipione Salviati, Bambino Gesu children’s hospital became the first pediatric hospital on the Italian peninsula.
In an effort to guarantee the hospital would have a secure future, in 1924, the Salviati family donated it to Pope Pius XI.
Over time, the hospital added new pavilions, new operating rooms and new outpatient departments. Today, with two branches outside Rome, Bambino Gesu children’s hospital is one of the most modern and well-equipped pediatric facilities in the country.
Bambino Gesu’s truest identity, he said, comes from the “moral authority of sick and suffering children,” and the awareness of that authority “should be the driving force behind your action together, in agreement and with a community spirit, in overcoming obstacles and differences.”
A cornerstone of the hospital’s mission, he continued, is medical research into the diagnoses and cures for rare diseases. The pope expressed his admiration for “the passion and enthusiasm that you put into your work of care and research.”
“There is no cure without research and there is no future in medicine without research,” he said.
“I like to bless the hands of doctors and nurses,” the pope told the group, adding that he would pause his talk to bless the hands of all the medical professionals in the audience and all those who work at the hospital.
“Lord, bless the hands of the doctors and nurses so that they can help the children throughout the course of their illness and recovery,” the pope prayed.
Thanking the hospital’s doctors, surgeons and nurses, he told them, “Always be aware of God’s blessing of your hands. Your ability to heal in this way is a gift to you and to the people entrusted to you.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103