Jesus and Mary Sister reports on children’s lives in war-torn Aleppo.
In the first day after February half-term, we were privileged to be visited by Sister Annie, one of our Jesus and Mary Sisters living and working in Aleppo.
In a whole-school assembly, she talked to students and staff about the community’s mission in Syria and how families are coping – and surviving – while a war rages around them.
‘I have been in Aleppo since 2003,’ Sister Annie said. ‘Many days there is no water; many houses are without light. Because 200 factories have been destroyed, thousands of families are without work.’
However, she added, the Jesus and Mary community has helped 1,100 families secure electricity in their homes. Schools like Thornton have also helped make peoples’ lives a little easier. In the Michaelmas term, we supported Red Wednesday to raise funds to buy food, fuel and blankets for the children trapped in the city. Previously, too, we sent warm clothes which the Sisters distributed to 7,000 people.
Showing an image of a little girl wearing a donated Thornton College sweatshirt, Sister Annie added: ‘Children and young people in Aleppo give me a great lesson in how to survive. You are part of our mission. We are carrying the cross but you are helping us to do that.’
To end the assembly, it was another privilege to listen to Years 7 and Years 12 perform the brand-new song they composed about Saint Claudine during our Service Day in early February. Praising the students, Sister Helen said she was looking forward to hearing it on a CD, ready to send to other Jesus and Mary schools and communities in 27 countries around the world.