VATICAN CITY, NOV. 4, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI today greeted a Nigerian woman who was recently freed from the slavery of prostitution thanks to the endeavors of the Community of Pope John XXIII.
The young woman represented the community at today's general audience in St. Peter's Square. She was at the Vatican with some 3,000 members of the group, commemorating the second anniversary of the death of the founder, Italian Father Oreste Benzi.
Father Benzi dedicated himself to the poor and least in society, and particularly to freeing people from the chains of prostitution and drugs. He created the Community of Pope John XXIII in 1968. It is now a private international association of pontifical right, with more than 600 centers in 25 countries, at the daily service of some 40,000 people.
On greeting the members of the community, Benedict XVI referred to the anniversary of Father Benzi's death and expressed his hope that "the fruitful spiritual legacy of this worthy priest will be a stimulus for you so that the providential work he began in favor of the least of our society will bear fruit in the Church and in the world."
"I am pleased to support you with prayer," the Pontiff assured.
On several occasions, Father Benzi introduced Pope John Paul II to girls and women the community had been able to free from prostitution.
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