The missionary kidnapped 4 years ago:

"We ask the kidnappers to release Sister Gloria as soon as possible"

Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "The Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate is currently praying a special novena of prayer for the release of Sister Gloria Cecilia Narváez. Indeed, February 7 will mark the 4th anniversary of her kidnapping in Mali. Unfortunately, so far efforts to secure his release have not been successful". This is what Sister Noemi Quesada, former Superior General of the Congregation, tells Agenzia Fides who, on the eve of this sad anniversary, launches this appeal: "We urgently ask the kidnappers to release her as soon as possible because her health is not good. Sister Gloria [Cecilia Narváez] suffers a lot, like the Congregation and her family. God, who is the Father of all, helps us in this request. In our pain, we feel powerless in the face of this unprecedented kidnapping and we ask the Christian community to pray and the international community to remember that through the kidnapping of a person what is kidnapped is a part of our humanity".

"I got to know Sister Gloria Cecilia Narváez when she began her religious life - Sister Quesada tells Fides. From her earliest childhood, she demonstrated her qualities as an educator and as such she prepared herself for service in this field. Many were the educational institutions in which she worked: the College of Samaniego, in the south of Colombia, was the last institute of which she was director. She then took her first steps as a missionary in southern Mexico, in Apatzingán, in the state of Michoacán. After special preparation, she was sent to Boukoumbé, Benin, still as an educator. Six years were enough for her to be deeply enchanted by Africa and its people. The Congregation then sent her to be responsible for the work in Karangasso, Mali. There, she accompanied the nuns of her community who carry out missionary service at the health center, in an orphanage and a center for the promotion of women, which includes a literacy project of 700 women in the villages as well as the catechesis of children and local young people".

Sister Noemi describes the figure of the kidnapped missionary: "Her love for the nuns, her simplicity and cordiality in relationships, her spirituality and life of prayer, make her a person very close to God and to the people. This led her to become more and more involved with the poor, forcing her to creatively seek new solutions to the most urgent situations of those who presented themselves".

The last heroic act of generosity and love was carried out at the moment of the kidnapping, as Sister Noemi continues: "When the kidnappers arrested one of the nuns in the community, she came out of her hiding place and told them: I am the oldest, the responsible, let her go. So the kidnappers released the nun and took Sister Gloria and took her away".

Sister Gloria Cecilia Narváez Argoti, a Colombian nun of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate, was kidnapped while carrying out her mission in Karangasso, southern Mali, on the evening of February 7, 2017. Around 9 pm, a group of armed men broke into the parish of Karangasso in Koutiala, an area previously considered quiet and relatively safe, kidnapping the nun. On July 1, the Al Qaeda group in Mali, through the encrypted Telegram network, released a video in which the nun was in the company of five other foreign hostages kidnapped by the jihadist network. About a year later, in January 2018, another video was posted on the Internet in which Sister Gloria, who seemed in good condition, addressed Pope Francis, asking him to intervene for her release.

Sister Gloria's mother, Mrs. Rosita Argoty de Narváez died in Pasto, Colombia, in September 2020, at the age of 87, until the end she did not lose hope of seeing her daughter again.

Sophie Petronin, a French humanitarian aid worker freed together with other Western hostages, including the missionary Fr. Pierluigi Maccalli, on 8 October 2020, declared that Sister Gloria is alive but in need of care.

The former French hostage claimed to have spent most of her captivity in the company of the Colombian nun. The two women were together the entire time until October 5, when Petronin was transferred for her release, passing through some 30 different camps. Cardinal Jean Zerbo, Archbishop of Bamako, demanded the release of all hostages still in the hands of jihadist groups: "Every time we pray, we ask the Lord for the release of Sister Gloria and all the other hostages. This is a great humiliation for Mali. They came to do good and were kidnapped by bandits, as if they were slaves. It is a shame for our country" 


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