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Bridges, November 30, 2018

A NIGHT OF WITNESS

Courage in Red:
Remembering Today’s Christian Martyrs and standing with those suffering for our faith

On the evening of November 28th at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, Sr. Annie Demerjian, RJM was one of three witnesses at Vespers for today’s Christian martyrs. The evening was televised nationwide and sponsored by Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy Father. If you missed the live viewing, it can be seen below:

Sr. Annie was also interviewed this week for the Global Sisters Report. Below are excerpts and the complete report is attached to Bridges.

Sr. Annie Demerjian has seen a lifetime of suffering in Aleppo, Syria, over the past seven years. Now, as conflict is beginning to die down, her ministry is no longer about getting emergency supplies to those in need as buildings collapsed and food, water and electricity were scarce. The current challenge is to help people begin to rebuild their lives.

"We are now living the consequences" of years of civil war, she said.

As the Syrian city finds its way out of the rubble, Sr. Annie and three other Sisters of Jesus and Mary are at work, reopening garment factories and helping people find jobs and develop job skills.

"Before, we were living day by day or minute by minute," she said, stressing that she and the other sisters never knew when bombs would fall or who would die next.

"Every part of my country has a story to tell, a story that reveals wounds that only time and God's mercy can heal," she said, stressing that the current situation primarily involves "recovering from this heavy burden." Many are mourning those who died and those who fled; children, in particular, have witnessed horrific violence or lost limbs due to explosions and face the "long process of healing."

And now, she said, the focus is on "supporting our people and letting them stand in dignity to start a new life," stressing that the easier part is the physical rebuilding. "Rebuilding the heart and soul" is the bigger challenge.

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