February 11 is the 26th World Day of the Sick, a commemoration instituted by St. John Paul II. The World Day of the Sick takes place each year on the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes.
The title of Pope Francis’s message for the day is “Mater Ecclesiae [Mother of the Church]: ‘Behold, your son... Behold, your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.’“ (Jn 19:26-27)
In his letter instituting the commemoration, St. John Paul wrote that the day should be “a special time of prayer and sharing, of offering one’s suffering for the good of the Church and of reminding everyone to see in his sick brother or sister the face of Christ who, by suffering, dying, and rising, achieved the salvation of mankind.”
“To Mary, Mother of tender love, we wish to entrust all those who are ill in body and soul, that she may sustain them in hope. We ask her also to help us to be welcoming to our sick brothers and sisters. The Church knows that she requires a special grace to live up to her evangelical task of serving the sick. May our prayers to the Mother of God see us united in an incessant plea that every member of the Church may live with love the vocation to serve life and health.
May the Virgin Mary intercede for this Twenty-sixth World Day of the Sick; may she help the sick to experience their suffering in communion with the Lord Jesus; and may she support all those who care for them. To all, the sick, to healthcare workers and to volunteers, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.” (Pope Francis)