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Death of Pope Emeritus, Pope Benedict XVI

January 5, 2023


Dear sisters and laity:

On the evening of the end of the year 2022, I am contacting you in view of the news we received this morning: the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, at 9:34 a.m. Rome.

During this week, we learned through the media that his health was deteriorating, until on the last day of 2022, the Lord called him to the abode that we trust he has prepared for his children.

In addition to thanking him for his service to the universal Church and expressing our belonging to it, I was reminded of the canonization of our Foundress. It was Pope Benedict XVI who officially declared Mother Candida’s sainthood on October 17, 2010. How can we not be grateful for his words in the homily of the Eucharist when he addressed our M. Candida?

When the Son of man comes to bring justice to the elect, will he find this faith on earth? (cf. Lk 18:18). Today, we can say yes, with relief and firmness, as we contemplate figures such as Mother Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola. That girl of simple origins, with a heart on which God placed his seal and which would soon lead her, with the guidance of her Jesuit spiritual directors, to take the firm resolution to live “only for God”. Decision faithfully maintained as she herself recalls when she was about to die. She lived for God and for what she wanted most: to reach out to all, to bring to all the hope that does not waver, and especially to those who need it most. “Where there is no place for the poor, there is no place for me,” said the new saint, who, with little means, inspired other sisters to follow Jesus and dedicate themselves to the education and promotion of women. Thus were born the Daughters of Jesus, who today have in their foundress a very high model of life to imitate, and an exciting mission to pursue in the many countries where Mother Candida’s spirit and desire for apostolate have reached.

His silent and courageous resignation that February 2013, gave us a testimony of great inner freedom and love for the Church for those who sought only the greatest good, that which would most help to follow the path left by Jesus Christ Our Lord.

It was 9 years that he shared with Pope Francis, his successor as bishop of Rome. And we have always perceived in both of them a witness of unity in faith, which kept the Church united in charity. Undoubtedly, Benedict XVI’s humility, his deep love for Jesus Christ, and his charity in the first place, have sustained this unity.

He has left us a great legacy in his documents, which demonstrate the strength of love, the firm faith in the God who saves us, and the hope that does not disappoint.

Feelings of deep gratitude and ecclesial love are what we experience. On the day of the funeral, those of us who are here in Rome will be present on behalf of the entire Congregation out of a sense of fidelity to the Church in one of her pastors.

Today we join the whole Church, the people of God, and Pope Francis in prayer and gratitude as we remember the witness of the personal consistency of this humble and profound servant of the Lord and his Church.

Download Graciela’s letter in PDF

Graciela Francovig, Superior General