ROME Pope Benedict visited a home for the elderly on Monday and told its residents that life can be beautiful at every age.
"I feel younger after being here," the pope, 85, said as he was leaving a home run by the Roman Catholic Sant' Egidio Community in a Rome neighborhood near the Vatican.
"In every age we have to know how to discover the presence of the blessings of the Lord and the riches that they contain," he told the residents.
"You must never lock yourselves in sadness. Living is beautiful even at our age, even though we have some ailments and limitations," he said.
His audience broke into applause when he told them that the quality of a society and a civilization can be judged by how they treat their elderly.
The Sant' Egidio community, which has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times, runs homeless shelters, AIDS clinics and homes for the elderly on several continents.
In 1992 it brokered an end to the 15-year civil war in Mozambique, where it now runs programs to stop the passage of HIV/AIDS from mothers to their children.
(Reporting By Philip Pullella)