Nagpur: The Superior general of the Daughters of St Paul has sought prayers for their three sisters who are stranded in the war-torn South Sudan.
“Let us turn to our Queen with particular insistence, begging her to protect our sisters and all the people of South Sudan, who are suffering profoundly,” Sr Anna Maria Parenzan wrote to all members of her global congregation on July 11 after word came that the sisters in the northeastern African nation are going through “very frightening time.”
“South Sudan is once again troubled by a lot of violence,” writes Sister Mariuccia Pazzini, the congregation’s delegation superior in Africa. The three sisters are Africans and their convent is in Juba, the country’s capital.
She said she has spoken to the sisters. “Like the rest of the population, they are barricaded in their little house. They are shut in their house and don’t dare to leave it.”
The nuns have told Sr Pazzini that soldiers who roam the streets continue to fire from their weapons. “We have to pray fervently that things calm down. Last Saturday was the country’s fifth anniversary of independence. But things seem worse than ever now.”
The delegation superior says the sisters are stranded as the airport and the country’s borders are closed. “So leaving is not an option. I am sure that the Queen of Apostles will continue to protect our sisters. All we can do is keep praying for them.”
The African superior said the three sisters told her that they feel safe because they believe Jesus is with them. “I assured them that we are all praying for them.”
Sr Mary Ann Kochakkadan, who returned from Africa three years ago, also spoke to the Sisters in South Sudan. “They told me that they are inside the convent and that they cannot do anything,” said the nun, who is presently the animator of community in Kolkata, eastern India.
The superior general, in her prayer appeal, recalled what their founder Blessed James Alberione had done during the World War II for his people. He entrusted the entire congregation to the care of the Blessed Virgin.
“When the war was over, and all the members were safe and he fulfilled his promise and built a church dedicated to Blessed Mother under the name “Sanctuary of the Queen of Apostles” in Italy, Sr Parenzan recalls.
“This vow has always been reconfirmed for us, especially in dangerous situations,” she adds.
All the ten congregations founded by Blessed Alberione now gather at the sanctuary on all special occasions.