Vatican - Sr Carolin and the other brave women who offer an oasis of peace in Syria

13 April 2017
Photo: Vatican Radio

(ANS - Vatican City) - "Syria is beautiful, marked by coexistence. This is characteristic of Syria: coexistence." Despite six years of war, there is still solidarity and attention to one’s neighbour, regardless of differences. So says Sister Carolin Tahhan Fachakh, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) and a "courageous woman" - as evidenced by the international prize that she received from the US State Department. On the margins of a meeting organized by the "Women of the Vatican" in Rome, Sister Carolin spoke of her mission in Damascus.

"We try to offer the children an atmosphere of peace. All children like to play, jump and sing - right? We offer this possibility also to the many children who have been damaged by war; there are some who do not speak and some who carry violence within them. We bring these children to share with others who do not have such difficult situations. (...) Before the war there were more Christians. Now out of 200 children there are only 24, the rest are Muslims. Parents trust us because we offer this climate of peace and of family and they are sure that there is no bigotry here."

In conjunction with the United Nations Office for Refugees, Sister Carolin also runs a dressmaking course for women. At the end of the course, the graduates receive a sewing machine. "We also give them the strength to stand on their own two feet, to be independent, to find a job ... We encourage them, telling them: 'the future will come, peace will come.'"

In Damascus, there are 20 FMA in total. Sister Carolin has dedicated her award to them. They are working not only in school but also at the hospital, despite the terrible working conditions: "There are no medicines. The best doctors have left. When a device breaks down there are no technicians to fix it. But the hospital nuns are wonderful, always ready to help everyone. "

Looking ahead, Sister Carolin knows that there will be a lot of work to be done. "After the war, we will have to teach them forgiveness and dialogue. There is so much inner work to be done, starting with forgiveness." Meanwhile she wants to emphasize that "there really is a lot of solidarity. When something happens close to us, many people, including Muslims, are knocking on our door asking us: 'Sister, are you all right? Do you need anything? Are you afraid? We can stay with you.'".

Source: Vatican Radio


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