Benedictine Sisters of Erie Respond to Papal Election

“As Benedictine Sisters of Erie we join people of God all over the world in extending our welcome to Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now named Francis, as he responds to the call and accepts the responsibility given him as Pope,” expressed Sister Anne Wambach, prioress, in response to the papal election. “We offer the prayer of our Benedictine suscipe* and ask that God will uphold Pope Francis and sustain him in hope.”

As in any new position, and especially in this role as leader of the 21st century Roman Catholic Church, the days ahead promise to hold expected and unexpected blessings and challenges for Pope Francis and for the people of God. It is the prayer of the Benedictine Sisters that Pope Francis continue to be blessed with a spirit of courage as he embraces the concerns and dreams, wishes and hopes of all those entrusted to his care.

Being the first to be or do anything requires humility and fortitude. The papacy of Pope Francis has begun with a series of “firsts”: the first Jesuit to be named Pope; the first non-European Pope in modern times; the first Latin American chosen as Pope; the first Pope to take the name Francis. By nature, “firsts” generate feelings of newness. Today, with the election of Pope Francis, newness has touched the people of God throughout the world. May this newness revive a spirit of hope for a church that will be a credible witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; a church that will, as Francis of Assisi said so well, “Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly [find that they] are doing the impossible.”

*Uphold me, O God, according to your word that I may live, and do not fail me in my hope (Psalm 119:116) [Rule of Benedict 58: 21].