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.”

Sister Annie Demerjian

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 watch the video below:

—John Pontifex