Aid to the Church in Need received alarming information from the Carmelites in Aleppo, project partners of the international charity. In a letter dated October 11, the Contemplative Sisters describe an extreme situation, as much in Eastern Aleppo as in Western Aleppo – the neighbourhood in which they live. These people are experiencing a serious scarcity of electricity and water.
In this letter they ask “for an end to the fighting soon, everywhere in the city,” deplore that the ‘media’ is ‘not speaking’ of the situation ‘not much brighter’ in their neighbourhood. Thank you for praying so that all that we are living in the obscurity of our hidden life or in our poor account as Contemplatives at the very heart of this violence and war are met with humility, peace and truth,” they conclude.
Here is the letter [translated] in its entirety:
October 11, 2016
“As you know through the information given in the West, the bombardments on Aleppo are numerous. But, the situation in Western Aleppo is not much brighter even though the media does not speak about it. This bias with regard to the information saddens us very deeply, for every day we are witness to, directly or indirectly, through the news we receive from priests or those close to us and known to us, of all types of distress experienced in many of the cities’ western neighbourhoods: shells, missiles, weapons becoming more and more sophisticated, this does not even speak of the total and complete lack of water and electricity (cut off by armed rebel groups) creating more and more victims; as a result the dead and wounded can also be counted by the dozen every day.”
“For the last week, this priest has not stopped burying civilian victims.”
The other day, a priest who says Mass once a week arrived in tears: he lives in Midan, a popular neighbourhood which has, for the last three years, been a constant target and victim of attacks. For the last week, this priest has not stopped burying civilian victims. In a very popular nearly totally Muslim neighbourhood close to the St-Louis Hospital run by Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Apparition – shells left about 10 dead and 70 wounded only a few days ago.
WE CAN’T TAKE IT ANY LONGER and we ask FOR AN END TO THE FIGHTING SOON, EVERYWHERE in the city, as well as for a little OBJECTIVITY in the news, for the simple act of respecting the poor who are suffering (because it consists of mainly very modest families, if not poor and even in misery…)
Contemplatives in the heart of violence
This said, we wish to hold faith and believe that on day truth will triumph; and that within evil, lies and corruption, on whatever side it is found to be, will be overcome by truth, reconciliation and true peace projects, in short – by our conversion to the Lord. We are the first to recognize this need for conversion within our own hearts!
(…) Thank you for praying so that all that we are living in the obscurity of our hidden life or in our poor account as Contemplatives at the very heart of this violence and war are met with humility, peace and truth.
In this month of the Rosary, I entrust all to the maternal protection of tenderness and of mercy of the Holy Mother of God, our Mother, “May she lead us by example and bring us to love through her own heart.”
*Translated as written in the letter.
A Million Children
Let us recall that last week, a million Syrian children – from at least 2,000 schools – participated in activities drawing attention to and asking for peace. Drawings from the activities were delivered to the European Parliament and the United Nations in Geneva this Monday, October 10, by representatives of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in Syria.
This ecumenical Peace action initiated by Aid to the Church in Need with its local partners is part of the objectives to close the gap between the Churches – as was initiated through the historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Russia in Cuba this past February.