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After 60 years serving the needy, nuns leave Kabul

by Carlo Marroni

As reported by Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano and later mentioned by the Pope during his visit at the Milan Duomo, after sixty years at the service of the needy the Little Sisters of Jesus had to leave Kabul.

The nuns have remained at the side of the poorest Afghans until they could, but their mission has now come to an end because of the lack of vocations.

“The Little Sisters of Jesus were Afghan among Afghans. In all these years, they have never left Kabul: not during the Soviet occupation, not under the Taliban, and not even during the bombing,” said Father Giuseppe Moretti, a chaplain in Kabul for eighteen years, speaking to Catholic press agency AsiaNews.

Even after NATO arrived in 2002, “they always politely refused all interviews. Not only to avoid being targeted or considered spies, but precisely because of their dedication and discretion. So many women have approached them, looking for support, comfort and strength, and have always kept their stories confidential,” said Father Moretti.

The sisters “spoke Farsi, lived as Afghans, sleeping mats on the floor and wearing traditional clothing,” said the priest.

This is why, according to L’Osservatore Romano, they were loved and respected by the community, so that in recent years they had obtained Afghan citizenship. And “they joked saying that it was not true that there were no longer any Afghan Christians,” said Father Moretti.

The sisters were also respected by the Taliban: “In 1993, every Friday they went to the embassy chapel to pray, even though it was closed due to the civil war. The Taliban knew who they were, but they always let them in. On the front of the chapel, a cross is clearly visible. The headquarters of the religious police were just nearby. They could have destroyed the chapel, but they did not,” said Father Moretti.

The Little Sisters of Jesus’ 60-year mission to Afghanistan ended in February with the departure of the last two sisters, Marianne and Catherine.