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Pope says nuns are the presence of God's tenderness

The life of nuns must be God's caress for all people of our time, John Paul II said in a message to the International Union of Superiors General of religious congregations.

Unable to meet the participants of the group's assembly last week because of his trip to Greece, Syria and Malta, the Holy Father met on Monday morning with members of the UISG executive council and gave them a message for all the nuns they represent.

"In this world lacerated by so many contradictions, in your identity as 'women,' you propose to be the living presence of the tenderness and mercy of God," the Pope said in his message, in which he addressed the topics discussed at the recent assembly.

The Holy Father said that "only in virtue of the charity of Christ can religious communities respond effectively to the challenges of the modern world and become a living proclamation of communion for a new humanity, which will arise from the mercy and tenderness of God."

The UISG assembly concluded by confirming Sr Rita Burley for another term as President. Sr Rita is a British religious of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.