Sister Candida Bellotti spent her 107th birthday with Pope Francis last week. The Holy Father greeted her and other Italian religious after his usual daily mass at St. Martha’s in Vatican City. Sr. Candida is a Camillian Sister who has been 80 years a religious. The Camillians were founded by St. Camillus de Lellis (d. 1614) and pronounce a fourth vow in additional to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience: “To serve the sick, even with danger to one’s own life.” You can always pick them out of a crowd by the distinctive red cross on their habit.
Sister was born in 1907 in Quinzano, Verona, Italy, the third of ten children born into the family. She professed vows in 1932 and worked until her retirement in 2000 at the age of 93! When she was 100, she traveled to Lourdes on a pilgrimage! You are never too old to enjoy life.
She has been over 80 years a religious and said, “I have never regretted having chosen this vocation.” What is the secret to her long life? She says, “To listen to the voice of Christ and to be docile to His will. During my whole life I have thought where the Lord takes me, that’s the right place for me.”