The decrease in the number of religious brothers and of women in religious orders is "worrying," according to the Vatican statistics office.
An elderly religious sister who worked for many years at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the papal residence, was at her congregation's house recovering from surgery when she received an unexpected visit from Pope Francis.
While greeting French pilgrims attending his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square May 22, Pope Francis said he was saddened to hear of the brutal murder of Daughter of Jesus Sr. Inés Nieves Sancho, a 77-year-old Spanish missionary who was killed May 20 outside her convent in Nola, Central African Republic.
Recalling Jesus' death on the cross, Pope Francis led thousands on Good Friday in reflecting on the crosses of loneliness, fear and betrayal that crucify countless men, women and children in the world. In the annual Way of the Cross in Rome's Colosseum April 19, the meditation for each station reflected the suffering and pain of people exploited and marginalized.