Religious of Jesus and Mary Sister, Sister Annie Demerjian, who visited Thornton recently to talk about the situation in Syria and for whom we have been raising money over the past few years, has told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need how she, fellow nuns and students narrowly escaped death on February 20th, when the sky “turned black” on one of the deadliest days of the conflict in the Syrian capital.
Describing the situation at her convent in the Bab Touma district of Damascus’s Old City, Sister Annie said that a rocket landed very close by and that had it exploded she and some of the university students “would have been wounded or killed”.
Sister Annie said that the windows of the hostel where she works were shaking because of the bombs and that in response the students evacuated to the relative safety of the corridors. She described how another member of her congregation, Sister Manal, ran through the streets to dodge the bombs and somehow made it back to the convent unharmed.
“Yesterday was like hell. It was raining bombs. There were so many shells and so many people injured.
“I saw people taking their children and running. It was just like Aleppo where I was before the ceasefire there.
“A rocket landed on the roof of the Patriarchate close to us. Somehow it did not explode. If it had done so, we could have been killed.”
Describing the situation afterwards as calmer, Sister Annie said many schools had now closed even though it is not officially holiday time.
She added: “We have to carry on. Life is stronger than death. We don’t know how long this violence will continue but it can’t last forever.
“The Lord has been good to us. So far, none of us Sisters have been hurt but so many others have suffered.
“Please pray for us. The only way forward for us is prayer.”
We are all praying with them.