She thanked the Pope for being a source of inspiration and helping the church fight the abuse of minors and vulnerable people.
“We are also grateful for your having faced the painful issue of abused religious,” she said, noting that many forms of abuse occur world-wide, including cases of religious abusing their fellow sisters.
National conferences of religious orders “are facing this scourge with courage and determination,” she said, listing a number of UISG initiatives to help congregations in raising awareness, training superiors and establishing protocols and codes of conduct.
The Pope said he was very much aware of the abuse of religious, calling it “a serious and grave problem.” Some religious face not just sexual abuse, he said, but also the abuse of power and conscience.
“We have to fight against this,” which must include the superiors general making sure they send their members where they will be in service, not servitude, the Pope said.
Fighting abuse, he continued, has been a slow process, especially seeing how it is only now that people are understanding the problem with “lots of shame.”
He said that he under-stood some victims’ groups were not satisfied with the outcome of a February summit at the Vatican on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, “but if we had hung (to death) 100 priest abusers in St Peter’s Square, everyone would have been happy, but the problem would not have been solved.”