· The Little Sisters of Jesus leave Afghanistan ·
After 60 years of service to the needy, standing by the poorest people of Afghanistan, the Little Sisters of Jesus were forced to leave the country last month due to a lack of vocations. “The Little Sisters of Jesus were Afghans among Afghans”, said Fr Giuseppe Moretti, a chaplain in Kabul for 18 years. “They never left the capital, not during Soviet occupation, not under the Taliban and not even during the bombings”, he stressed.
Their way of being close to the needy “in silence” was what was most striking about them, Fr Moretti said. Even when NATO arrived in 2002, “they always kindly refused any interviews, not only to avoid becoming targets or being considered spies, but rather due to their dedication and reserve. Many women turned to them, looking for support, consolation and strength and they always kept their stories confidential”, he added.
Fr Moretti said the sisters “spoke Farsi, lived as Afghans, sleeping on carpets on the ground and wearing traditional clothing”. This is why the sisters were loved and esteemed by the community, so much so that, in recent years, they received Afghan citizenship. “They joked, saying that it was not true that there were no longer any Afghan Christians”, Fr Moretti said. The sisters were even respected by the Taliban. “In 1993, they went to the embassy chapel to pray every Friday despite the fact that it was closed due to the civil war. The Taliban knew who they were, but they always let them enter. There is a visible cross on the side of the chapel. The headquarters of the religious police was just nearby. They could have destroyed the chapel, but they did not do so”, Fr Moretti recounted.
The experience of the Little Sisters of Jesus ended in February with the departure of the last two religious, Marianne and Catherine. “we must look to their story”, Fr Moretti stressed.