Desperate community asks Christian Salesian Sisters to stay in war-struck Sudan
The Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco, formerly known as The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, is a female religious society, established by Saint Maria Domenica Mazzarello in 1872.
The civil war between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces broke out on the 15th of April 2023. Since then, over 6 million people have lost their homes and have been displaced; 9,000 people have been killed, based on figures from the United Nations.
The missionary Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, based in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, have been providing food, hope and catering for the basic needs of the local community.
The bomb struck the Sisters’ home on Friday, the 3rd of November. The building was the dwelling of five religious sisters, all of whom are over 65 years old; 20 women; 45 children; a priest; a teacher and a group of men, some of whom were old and sick were also affected. Fortunately the residents were not injured in the blast, but the house was badly damaged.
Despite all this, the local community asked the Sisters to stay, as they are their only hope: “As long as you are here, we have hope, do not abandon us!”
Sister Chiara Cazzuola, the Superior General, confirmed that the Sisters gladly accepted the request: “They are happy to be able to stay where they are.” She also praised the local community for being kind and caring for each other during these difficult times: “The local people are also good and generous, so much so that they killed a sheep to donate 5 kg of meat, divided into small pieces so that there was enough for everyone.”
She also encouraged everyone to pray to Mary, the Mother of Christ, for her intercession for peace in Sudan and indeed for every other war-struck country on earth.
Pope Francis has frequently appealed for a peaceful resolution. Last Sunday he made a plea to Sudan’s leaders to provide access to humanitarian aid for the people in distress, and make efforts toward a non-violent pledge with the help of the international community.