• Apostolic Journey of Pope Francis to Turkey

The testimony from a Syrian monastery - The prayer that rises among the drums of war

2013-09-08 L’Osservatore Romano

Theirs is a prayer marred by gunfire which can be heard behind the small doors of the little cells in that a monastery that are laboriously holding up, brick by brick, day after day. That little cluster of courageous Italian Trappist nuns - who, having left their home in Valserena, Tuscany, eight years ago, chose martyred Syria for their contemplative life – continues to trust in the Lord of Peace. Sr Marta Luisa Fagnani speaks about it in an interview with our newspaper.

How did you take the call of Pope Francis to a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East and the World?

With great joy. It is may be the only real chance to counter this madness and prevent another armed intervention that will certainly not help a people who have already been martyred. Prayer and fasting are like weapons to empty oneself of oneself and to try to be more reasonable, to make oneself listen to a deeper wisdom. For our own part, we are praying as part of the week of prayer for Syria. We are looking to organize something together with the parish of the village to be close to the many praying with the Pope on Saturday in St Peter's Square.

Do you think prayer will be able to stop weapons?

Prayer is powerful, of that we are convinced. Otherwise, we would not have chosen this life. Prayer is not just a devotion, it is not just a retreat into peace. It is a powerful weapon, though also a peaceful one. It moves the heart, it has a force of its own. We believe this firmly.

What is the current situation in your area?

We are a little village almost on the border of Lebanon. The majority here are alawites, though there are larger villages of Sunni. Today the people live in suspense, because they live in a fear more linked to the consequences of a possible mass attack from outside the country. The worry is above all about what will happen inside the Country. Here in our area the tension is palpable, as is the fear.

Nicola Gori