(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ apostolic visits always feature at least one event in a place of suffering, of solidarity, of rebirth.
He always makes sure he spends some precious time with the poorest and the weakest of the world, be they prisoners, disabled adolescents, elderly people, slum-dwellers… In Medellin on Friday he visited the community at Hogar San José: a Jesuit-run home for orphaned children victims of Colombia’s conflict.
The over 300 children cared for by the nuns, lay people and volunteers of the Home come from across the ravaged nation. All of them carry the wounds of violence and abuse.
One little girl, Claudia Yesenia, told the story of her own suffering when – aged two – she was wounded and lost all when a rebel attack in the San Carlos Antioquia area wiped out her entire community and most of her family.
But she also told of her rebirth at the San José Home for children where she was cherished and cared for and is being given an education so that she too can, one day, offer care and love to children in need.
Pope Francis listened with attention, smiled and embraced the children as he always does, and put everything else aside to be able to enjoy their songs, their joy, their presence.
He told them that Jesus loves them more than anyone else and that He protects them to make sure that they – who are the future of Colombian society – may grow and be strengthened in wisdom and grace.
In this nation where nature is so lush and generous, where the national flower is the sophisticated orchid, each child was holding a small bouquet of little white daisies: the simplest and most humble of blossoms. Just like those closest to Pope Francis’ own heart.
In Colombia with Pope Francis, I’m Linda Bordoni