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» 02/01/2013
LIBYA
Islamists chase nuns from Libya, people pray for their return
by Simone Cantarini
A growing presence of Islamic extremists in Cyrenaica. Sister Celeste Biasolo, former superior of the Convent of the Holy Family of Spoleto in Derna, speaks of a widespread climate of fear, which affects the Libyan people. The monastery was closed in October because of threats from a group of extremists. "The people of Derna miss us and often contact us imploring us to return."

Rome (AsiaNews) - "Islamic extremists threatened us to leave, not the Libyan people, who instead protected us by coming to visit every day until our departure", Sister Celeste Biasolo, former superior of the convent of the Holy Family of Spoleto in Derna tells AsiaNews. In October she was forced to leave Libya with four other sisters, because of the spread of Islamic extremists in Cyrenaica. The situation described by the religious is also confirmed by Msgr. Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, who recently pointed out that two other religious communities will leave Cyrenaica after having been threatened by Islamists: the Franciscan Sisters of the Infant Jesus of Barce and the Ursuline Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Beida.

Sister Celeste Biasolo describes a climate of fear in Cyrenaica, which is especially affecting the Libyan people: "The same Muslim population is being terrorized by this situation. The people of Derna miss us and often contact us imploring us to come back. At Christmas more than 100 families called to our monastery in Spoleto with greetings for us". "In Cyrenaica - she explains - the Islamists do not want to attack the Church as such, but the West, and unfortunately we are seen as foreigners. This is because the country is without a government and can not even guarantee the security of its citizens".

The presence of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Spoleto in Libya dates back to 1921. The founder of the Institute, Blessed Peter Bonilli, wanted to open a mission in Cyrenaica, in the city of Derna. Sister Celeste notes that until their departure, the mission of the religious and the Church in Libya has focused primarily on health care and care for the elderly. "In these years - she says - we have tried to show joy of his own life of Christians and the Gospel through our presence and humanitarian work." According to the religious this struck the Muslim population who continue to consider the sisters a fundamental part of their community.

 

 


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See also
09/12/2012 LIBYA
Cyrenaica, the friendship of religious sisters with Libyan Islamists
03/15/2013 LIBYA
Benghazi, the Coptic Church of St. Mark is torched
05/14/2013 LIBYA
Benghazi in revolt against Islamists following deadly attack
03/02/2013 LIBYA
Benghazi, 48 Egyptian Christians arrested on religious grounds
01/08/2013 LIBYA
Libya, Msgr. Martinelli: the Coptic Orthodox and all Christians are not a target of extremists

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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pp. 528
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pp. 240
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