A church without religious sisters would be 'unthinkable', Pope Francis said, while honouring the contributions consecrated men and women make to the Church and society, reports the Catholic News Service.
'Every consecrated person is a gift to the people of God on pilgrimage,' he said on Sunday, reciting the Angelus with visitors in St Peter's Square. The Pope had just finished celebrating Mass for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which the Church marks as the World Day for Consecrated Life.
'There is such a great need for their presence, which reinforces and renews the commitment to spreading the Gospel, Christian education, charity for the neediest, contemplative prayer, the human and spiritual formation of the young and families, and the commitment to justice and peace in the human family,' the Pope said.
Straying from his prepared text, Pope Francis told people gathered in the square: 'Think what would happen if there weren't any sisters, if there weren't any sisters in the hospitals, no sisters in the missions, no sisters in the schools. Think what the Church would be like without sisters - no, that's unthinkable.'
Consecrated life is a gift that moves the Church forward, he said. These women who consecrate their lives to carrying forward the message of Jesus - they're great,' he added.
FULL STORY A church without religious sisters is 'unthinkable,' pope says (CNS)