Attention must be paid.
An Albanian nun who inspired Pope Francis with her courageous faith under communist persecution has died at the age of 92.
Sister Marije Kaleta risked her life to bring Communion to the sick and dying under the regime of the dictator Enver Hoxha, whose communist government destroyed churches and martyred Catholics in its effort to create an atheist state.
The nun died on Jan. 2 in her convent in Shkodër, in northern Albania.
Albania is a country of 2.8 million people on Southeastern Europe’s Balkan Peninsula, bordered by Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Greece.
Pope Francis was so moved by her story that he mentioned it in a homily four years later as “a beautiful example of the Church as a mother.”
“I baptized not only the children of the villages, but also all those who showed up at my door,” the nun told the Pope in the cathedral of Tirana.
She recalled that one time when she was on her way home, she heard a voice from behind her.
“It was a woman with a baby girl in her arms who came running towards me and asked me to baptize her,” she said.
Sister Marije said that she felt some fear because she knew that this woman was a communist.
“I told her I didn’t have anything to baptize her with because we were on the road, but she expressed so much desire that she told me there was a canal with water nearby,” she said.
“I told her I didn’t have anything to collect the water with, but she insisted that I baptize that child, and seeing her faith, I took off my shoe, which was made of plastic, and I filled it with water from the canal and baptized her.”
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her …