Wednesday, April 01, 2020

ACN-USA News - From a nun in Syria, a message of hope and faith in the time of the coronavirus

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 donors of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

In an audio message sent today (March 27), Sister Annie Demerjian, a leading Syria project partner of ACN, tells donors: “do not panic” and “follow the instructions about healthcare.”

A member of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, Sister Annie thanks ACN donors 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.

Sister Annie is pledging to pray for donors 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 fellow women religious are praying the rosary every day “for the world,” she says: “Our faith is not like pressing a magic button and expecting everything to be OK.

“The pain and suffering are there, but we must also not forget that the resurrection is there every day.”

Drawing on her experiences in Aleppo, in northern Syria, Sister Annie adds: “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.”

Warning of the impact of the virus on a Syria still reeling from years of conflict, she reports: “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 on progress with a supermarket voucher scheme for 260 families, especially for elderly people dependent on them, and a rent-payment scheme for the most vulnerable.

Sister Annie adds: “To all our ACN donors, 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.” 

To listen to the full audio message from Sister Annie, please click here.

—John Pontifex

With picture of Sister Annie Demerjian (© ACN)

Editor’s Notes:

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Directly under the Holy Father, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.  ACN is a Catholic charity - helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Father Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope John Paul II named “An Outstanding Apostle of Charity,” the organization is now at work in over 145 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, 43 million Aid to the Church in Need Child’s Bibles have been distributed worldwide.

For more information contact Michael Varenne at or call 718-609-0939 or fax 718-609-0938. Aid to the Church in Need, 725 Leonard Street, PO Box 220384, Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384.

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