She is one of the oldest religious sisters in the world, but this week, she turned 110 years young.
Despite her advanced age, Sister Candida Bellotti retains the
enthusiasm of a young woman.
On Monday, Feb. 20, she celebrated her
110th birthday and received a special message from Pope Francis.
“To the Reverend Sister Candida Bellotti, Sister Minister of the
Sick, who with gratitude to God is celebrating her 110th birthday, the
Holy Father Francis spiritually participates in the joy we all share for
this happy occasion and sends warm congratulations and heartfelt
wishes,” said the pontiff in his message.
At age 80, Pope Francis is 30 years her junior.
Sister Bellotti celebrated her birthday with the Bishop of the
Italian Diocese of Lucca, Benvenuto Italo Castellani. She resides in the
diocese along with the convent's sisters and the provincial superior,
Sister Giuliana Fracasso.
In a recent interview, she said that her vocation was “sown” in a Christian family.
“Love, love and love still more, with joy,” is the advice she gives
everyone, especially the new generations. She has a special invitation
for young people: “Have confidence in the future, and strive to the
utmost to accomplish your desires.”
Sister Bellotti belongs to the Congregation of San Camillus de
Lellis, which this year observes the 150th anniversary of the death of
its founder, Blessed Maria Domenica Brun Barbantini.
The 110-year-old sister was born in Quinzano, in the Italian province
of Verona, on February 20, 1907.
Since the 1930s, she has dedicated
herself to serving those in need as a professional nurse in various
Since the year 2000 she has been living Lucca, at her
congregation's mother house.