At the end of his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis called on everyone to pray for a group of nuns taken by force from the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint Tecla in the ancient Christian town of Ma’lula in Syria.
“Now I would like to invite everyone to pray for the religious sisters of the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint Tecla in Ma’lula, in Syria, who, two days ago, were taken away by force by armed men,” he said. “Let us pray for these sisters, and for all those who have been kidnapped on account of the on-going conflict. Let us continue to pray and to work for peace.”
The Holy Father concluded his appeal with a call to have confidence in Mary, leading the faithful in praying the Hail Mary, and invoking the Blessed Mother as “Queen of Peace.”
The sisters were forcibly “evacuated” from their convent on Monday, when Ma’lula was overrun by Muslim rebels after three days of fighting. The nuns and several other women were taken to the nearby rebel-held town of Yabroud, which also has a large Christian population.