An intrepid nun, who coordinates emergency relief in Syria, has responded to the coronavirus pandemic by sending a message of prayer and solidarity to friends and benefactors of a leading Catholic charity.
In an audio message sent today (Friday, 27th March), Sister Annie Demerjian, a leading Syria project partner of Aid to the Church in Need, tells the charity’s supporters: “do not panic” and “follow the instructions about healthcare”.
The Religious of Jesus and Mary Sister goes on to thank ACN benefactors for their near decade-long help providing food baskets and sanitary items, clothing and medicine for the most vulnerable in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria, pledging to pray for benefactors in this time of emergency.
Sister Annie says: “It is very painful what the world is passing through at this time.
“In this situation of the coronavirus, do not panic about the news. Follow the instructions about healthcare.
Describing how she and her Sisters are praying the Rosary every day “for the world”, she said: “Our faith is not like pressing a magic button and expecting everything to be OK.
“The pain and suffering is there but we must also not forget the resurrection is there every day.”
Drawing on her experiences in Aleppo, northern Syria: “We need to help those who are most in need. We need to help each other, lift each other’s spirits and things will pass.”
Sister Annie, who warns of the impact of the virus on a Syria still reeling from years of conflict, said: “In Aleppo, our groups of volunteers are continuing, visiting homes where it is safe to do so and taking great care.
“We are helping the old people, especially because so many of them have no other support, and in Damascus our Sisters are helping some old people, buying what they need so they will not have to go out.
“People have nothing to rely on. How will they survive?”
She goes on to report progress with a supermarket voucher scheme for 260 families, especially for elderly people dependant on them, and a rent-payment scheme for the most vulnerable.
Sister Annie, who was keynote speaker at ACN UK’s National Westminster Event in London last October, her third visit in four years, adds: “To all our ACN benefactors, we say very sincerely: ‘Thank you for your enormous generosity. You have helped us for so many years and continue to do so.’
“May God continue to bless you and keep you and your families safe and well.”