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Suffering in the teachings of Saint Josemaría

A conference on human suffering in the teachings of Saint Josemaría was held in December at the Monkole Medical Center in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The gathering was part of the celebration of the centennial of the birth of the founder of Opus Dei.

The conference was opened by Msgr. Daniel Nladu, representing Cardinal Etsou, Archbishop of Kinshasa. Three conferences were held in the morning and a round table in the afternoon.

Dr. Leon Tshilolo, director of Monkole Medical Center, introduced the three speakers, who addressed the role of suffering in the family, in society, and in the training of medical personnel.
Catlyne Williamson, a Belgian sociologist, saw “pain and sickness as a challenge that each family must confront in a positive manner. Saint Josemaria taught that a sick person represents a treasure for a family, by making possible a greater love. Sickness, in addition, often demands the decision to be faithful in love.”

Giovanni Motini, a member of the Ethics Committee of the Campus Bio-Medico University in Rome, used writings of Saint Josemaría to highlight the importance of solidarity with those who are suffering, especially in a society that is going through trying or tense moments. The example of the new saint in his apostolic work with the sick in the hospitals of Madrid back in the early 30’s teaches us that a commitment to solidarity demands the solid foundation of love, Mottini stressed.

Paola Binetti, director of the Department of Medical Education at the Campus Bio-Medico University, presented a summary of Saint Josemaría’s teachings on suffering and sickness. “Suffering is a school of solidarity,” Dr. Binetti said, “and a specific opportunity to live reciprocal love.” She concluded by saying that the best way to confront it is to unite oneself to God’s will, because he is a Father who loves us.

In the evening the round table included the morning’s lecturers, along with the child psychologist Espérance Kashala and the secretary of the school of Nursing, Dr. Tshiswaka. Msgr. Xavier Hervas, Vicar of the Prelate of Opus Dei in the Congo, closed the conference.

Romana, No. 35, July-December 2002, p. 342-343.