A Sister at Gaza’s Catholic parish – now caring for more families following the bombing of the local Orthodox church – has made a heartfelt plea for peace.
Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) by telephone, Sister Nabila, who is caring for Christians sheltering in Gaza’s Holy Family parish complex, said she is extremely worried.
The parish has no electricity or running water and has resorted to drinking water from a well – which they fear could run dry at any time – or bottled mineral water, which costs three times its original price.
Sister Nabila expressed particular concern for around 100 traumatised children they are caring for and who have known nothing but war throughout their lives.
She said: “We just want peace, peace. We have had six wars in Gaza. Children only know war.”
Holy Family parish has been providing aid and shelter to wounded and displaced Christians affected by the ongoing violence over the past two weeks – most of whom have lost their homes.
Along with another six religious Sisters and a Catholic priest, Sister Nabila has been working tirelessly to support the almost 700 displaced persons that they are caring for – including 50 persons living with disabilities.
The number of those taking refuge in the Holy Family’s complex increased by around 200 after the compound of St Porphyrios Greek Orthodox Church was hit by a missile that killed 18 people.
Among those killed when the Greek Orthodox compound was hit was a teacher who taught at Rosary Sisters’ school, where Sister Nabila is principal, along with her entire family. Other children who had been attending parish catechesis also died.
Despite the shelling, Sister Nabila remains resilient, saying that “staying busy and helping others is the best way to cope with the devastation”.
Sister Nabila told ACN that spiritual support for the people is providing hope.
Mass is celebrated twice a day, and people have been constantly praying the Rosary – seeking peace through the intercession of the Virgin Mary.
She concluded: “Peace, peace, we want just peace. There is so much evil, so much suffering. It’s terrible. Right now, we only have God.”