My heart is heavy as I begin to write this blog. It has been four days since we learned the very sad news that one of our Sisters and two Italian priests had been abducted in northern Cameroon. We continue to wait in hope and to pray for our Sister, the priests, their respective families, our Sisters in Cameroon, and those responsible for this deed, that their hearts will be touched with compassion. The news of this event has shocked and saddened all the Sisters of the Congregation de Notre-Dame, but it has also brought us together. Like all “families” we sometimes have our differences. Personality and cultural differences can create tensions, but when one of our members or an area of our Congregation suffers, we all suffer. This was true at the time of the Tsunami in Japan, and it is very real now. There is a felt sense of solidarity and support among us. In all corners of our CND world, we have come together in prayer for our Sister and brothers. Sisters, Associates and friends in Canada, United States, Cameroon, Japan, Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, and France have gathered in prayer these last days. Lent, a time to remember the passion of Jesus in a special way, has taken on a new and real meaning for us. Those who know our Sister well, are quick to point out that they know she is living this experience closely united to Jesus in his passion.
There are so many details we would want to know, but all we can do is to wait in faith and trust and hope. Repeatedly, I have found myself coming back to the words of Isaiah: 43: 1b-3 and praying them for my sister.
Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name, you are mine.
Should you pass through the waters, I shall be with you;
Or through rivers, they will not swallow you up.
Should you walk through fire, you will not suffer,
And the flame will not burn you.
For I am Yahweh, your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.
These would be familiar words to our Sister, and I am sure that she has prayed them many times in her life. I pray that they will bring consolation and solace to her in this very difficult time. As you continue your Lenten journey, please join with us in prayer for the release of these persons.