Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Friday, 9 February 2024
Sr. Nabila Saleh pleas for relief for Gaza :

One of the last remaining religious sisters in the Catholic parish of the Holy Family in Gaza has appealed “for peace, for respect and for human rights”.


Sr Nabila Saleh of the Congregation of the Rosary said that “houses no longer exist, food is almost finished, and what little is found costs five times more than usual”.


About 120 of the 1,000 people who took shelter in the parish at the start of the war have left Gaza using emergency visas or foreign nationality. 


Sr. Nabila was one of two members of her congregation – the only congregation of sisters based in the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem – who ran the Catholic school in Gaza for about 400 Christian and Muslim pupils.


Following the outbreak of hostilities, they continued to teach the catechism and care for the children in the parish, who have now missed almost half a year of schooling, but one sister has been evacuated and Sr Nabila was due to leave this week suffering exhaustion.


“We hope in the Lord. If we did not have faith here, we would be all be dead already,” she said in her appeal, delivered to Vatican News during a rare moment of contact with the outside world.


It is uncertain whether the Rosary Sisters, who operate across the Middle East, will be able to restore their presence in Gaza in the future. 


The Catholic community there is currently served by its Argentinian parish priest, Fr Gabriel Romanelli IVE, and two sisters from the same Incarnate Word institutes, while three sisters of the Missionaries of Charity run a home for the disable in the parish compound.


The blockade of Gaza has driven food prices beyond the means of most civilians, while a moratorium on imports of fuel – for fear it could be used for Hamas equipment – means that the parish is rarely able to run its generator.