Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis has made it a point to continue in his predecessors footsteps by making pastoral visits across the globe, especially to the world’s poorest, even war-torn nations. During each visit, Pope Francis always offers the faithful spiritual advice to help them strengthen and grow their relationship with God. When he met with young people in the Central African Republic in November 2015, Pope Francis gave them some of his most interesting advice yet: “Be like a banana.”
The answer from the Pope came in response to a young man seeking advice on the temptations he and others face to flee their country ravaged by unrest and civil war. In response, the Holy Father provided insights on love, courage, and peace, using the country’s national fruit: the banana.
He said, “The banana is the symbol of life, it always grows, always produces, gives life, nutrients, energy. The banana plant is very resistant.”
He told the youth that during a difficult time of war, they must extol the virtues of the banana and live its example of resistance:
“Dear friends, some of you want to go away, some of you want to leave. But escaping from the challenges that life presents is never a resolution. We need to resist, to have the courage to resist, to fight so that good can come. Those who flee do not have the courage to give life. The banana gives life and continues to reproduce, giving more and more life because it resists, because it remains, because it’s there.”
The youth asked the Holy Father how they can resist in the face of such adversity like the banana tree does. He replied they must always pray, work for peace, and allow love to win over hate even towards those against you, saying “can one love an enemy? Yes. Can we pardon those who’ve done us wrong? Yes. Thus with love and with forgiveness.”
Before leaving he left them with these final words of sage spiritual advice:
“I wish you all the best – think of the banana. Think of resisting before difficulty. Escaping, going far away, is not a solution. You need to be courageous. Have you understood what it means to be courageous? Courageous and forgiving, courageous and loving, courageous and being peaceful.”
Over two years later, the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Mombasa, Kenya, are taking Pope Francis’ advice to heart: figuratively and literally. Through MISSIO from the Pontifical Mission Societies, you have the ability to make an impact and difference through a charitable donation that will help these Sisters who have a banana farm to support their other ministries, including caring for the hungry and poor in their community, and helping the aging Sisters who have spent their life in similar service.
Launched by Pope Francis himself, MISSIO is a new and innovative Catholic crowd-funding platform that allows you to directly help provide aid and assistance to the poorest areas around the world with the most need.
With MISSIO you can directly support the works of Catholic missionaries in the poorest and most desperate areas of the world. Just some of the giving opportunities on MISSIO includ
Choose one of these missions of Pope Francis knowing that 100% of your donation will go directly there. Share about it on social media so others can support the projects also.
MISSIO is powered by The Pontifical Mission Societies, the Catholic Church’s official support organization for overseas missions since 1822, providing for a global network of people who are making a difference for communities in need around the globe.
Start your new year off right by helping the missions of Pope Francis around the world with MISSIO!