Different color cross, same spirit

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While their colored cross may not be the one recognized most, this organization provides services in the same spirit as their more popular counterpart. 

Volunteers from the Green Cross of Busalla were hard to miss at Pope Francis' Wednesday General Audience. Their fluorescent orange tracksuits were complemented by a large white flag with silver pelicans perched on its pole. The family of birds serves as a symbol for heart of the organization's mission. 

Vice President, Green Cross of Busalla

“It's about the altruism that the mother gives everything for her children, also her body if necessary.”

Busalla is a small town north of Genoa with less than 6,000 inhabitants. Around 80 members of the Green Cross provide health care assistance for the community, mainly offering transportation services both in emergencies and to routine medical visits. 

When they're not working day jobs as secretaries, artisans, civil servants or various other occupations, volunteers as young as 16 and as old as 80-plus sacrifice their free time for the well-being of others. 

After more than 100 years in existence, the Green Cross has finally been able to attend a General Audience and receive the pope's blessing. In return, the group presented the Holy Father with a gift. 

Vice President, Green Cross of Busalla

“We have given a ceramic plate to the pope in order to explain that our public assistance was born in 1910. On the ceramic plate is our first ambulance.”

Although the way they carry their patients has drastically changed over the years, the way Green Cross volunteers carry themselves has not. After a short two-day stay in Rome, members return to the streets of Busalla, giving their everything for their neighbors in need. 

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