Cloistered Convent at Vatican Lends Its Prayers

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 12, 2001 (ZENIT.orgAvvenire).- Just hours after the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, the Carmelites of the little cloistered convent in the Vatican began to pray for the victims and their families.

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«We are always here to pray; this is our vocation and life,» explained Mother Mary, superior of the community. «Nothing changes today in the community´s schedule. However, our prayer is directed to what happened in the United States.»

The Pope requested the prayers immediately after learning of the attacks Tuesday, and his closest aides passed on the word directly to the cloistered nuns.

«We were given immediate news of the tragedy by telephone,» the superior said. «We were asked to pray for the victims, the wounded, for their families, and for peace. And this is what we are doing.»

The nuns who are closest to the Pope carry in their prayer «the great problems of the Church and the world, but also issues related to the life of specific individuals,» Mother Mary said.

The nine Carmelites in the Vatican convent, who arrived two years ago, come from Italy, France, Poland, Spain and the Holy Land.

In the silence of community life, they follow closely the Pope´s trips, and his commitments and concerns. They have no need of television news to know what has happened.

«We know it has been a tragedy that has affected many innocent people,» Mother Mary said, «and we know that we must pray for those who have been scourged by violence.»

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