Pope’s Meeting with Children of Saint Martha’s Community Clinic

A Charitable Organization that Is Celebrating Its Centenary

Saint Martha’s Community Clinic
© Vatican Media

On Sunday morning, December 19, 2021, Pope Francis received in audience — in Paul VI Hall –, the children assisted by the Vatican’s Saint Martha’s  Community Clinic, together with their families and volunteers.

According to the Holy See Press Office, “during the meeting, the children sang some songs and presented a brief theatrical work to the Pope.” Then “the Holy Father addressed a few words of greeting to those present and, before saying goodbye, he was gifted with a birthday cake, as he turned 85 on Friday the 18th.

“Vatican News” reported that the Holy Father met with some 350 people that form part of the activities of Saint Martha’s Paediatric Community Clinic, a charitable organization that is celebrating its centenary, and he interacted with the children present.

“We must listen to the needs of the people,” he said, inviting the little ones to repeat this phrase aloud. In the presence of Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, of the Apostolic Almonry, the Community Clinic organized this meeting on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, in which Christmas gifts, toys, and clothes were distributed.

Observe and Listen to the Needs of the People

 “Love for the other,” said one of the girls, taking part in the event, while conversing with the Pontiff. According to the same source, the evangelical synthesis that the Pope stresses as a good answer is: “It means that we must listen to the needs of people. If we don’t look at the needs in the face, we will never understand them.”

The Holy Father also paused to analyze the word “listen,” a word that he said was important. “A person who doesn’t listen to others listens only to himself. It’s boring to listen to oneself. It’s better to listen to others because then you can understand their needs and demands.”

In this context, the Bishop of Rome invited all to repeat again: “Listen to understand.” And all the children shouted these words aloud, while His Holiness joked pretending he was deaf so that the children would repeat it louder and those words would be fixed in their mind and heart.

Saint Martha’s Paediatric Community Clinic

 According to “Vatican News,” Saint Martha’s Paediatric Community Clinic was founded on May 8, 1922, with the blessing of Pope Pius XI. Entrusted to Saint Vincent de Paul’s Sisters, Daughters of Charity, who work in Saint Martha’s in the Vatican, it collaborates with volunteer doctors of the Bambino Gesù Hospital, of the Saints Peter and Paul Association, of private and other health institutions of Rome, as well as lay volunteers, whose commitment and support, help to run the organization.

As one of them recalled, in his greeting to Pope Francis, the Community Clinic offers listening, health and psychological care, a social secretariat, and maintenance services to families of all religious Confessions in the name of the greatest hospitality and generosity. “We give affection and closeness without any expectation but a smile,” he said. And the style is that taught in the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti, which guides the hidden and fruitful actions of this beating reality of life.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester