San, Mali, Aug 11, 2021 / 14:23 pm (CNA).
An initiative that works to highlight persecution of Christians released Friday a video seeking prayers for Sister Gloria Cecilia Nárvaez Argoti, a missionary who was abducted in Mali in February 2017.
“This exemplary religious wasn’t the one chosen to be kidnapped but she saved the life of one of the younger sisters of her community by offering herself in exchange for her,” says the Aug. 6 video from Project Wake Up, an initiative of the E.U.K. Mamie Foundation.
“In the different videos and notes released by her kidnappers, the sister asks for prayers for her release and to remain unshakable in her faith.”
Project Wake Up wants the faithful always to remember the sister and “above all to not cease praying for her, so that the strength of the Communion of Saints keeps her heart in continuous union with the Lord and sustains her in this hard and prolonged trial.”
In July, Sr. Gloria was allowed to give proof she is alive with a handwritten note in which she asked people to pray for her.
“I send everyone my warmest greetings. May the good Lord bless you and grant you health. I have been a prisoner for four years and now I am with a new group,” the sister wrote in her 11-line message sent to her brother Edgar Narváez Argoti through the Red Cross.
She identified the group now holding her as Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, a militant Islamist group in West Africa and the Maghreb.
The nun asked, “may they all pray a great deal for me. May God bless them all. I am hopeful that God will help me to regain my freedom.”
Armed men kidnapped Sister Cecilia, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate and a Colombia native, in Karangasso, about 90 miles south of San, Feb. 7, 2017. The men forced Sister Cecilia to hand over the keys to the community’s ambulance. The vehicle was later found abandoned. Three other sisters were present at their house but escaped.
According to the Associated Press, a judge in the country charged four individuals in relation to the kidnapping in April 2017.
Sr. Cecilia had served in Mali for 12 years before her abduction. Her community administers a large health center in the country, as well as a home where they care for some 30 orphans between one and two years of age.
The religious sisters teach literacy to some 700 Muslim women. They are working on a barn project for times of food shortages, as many mothers in the region die from malnutrition.
The kidnappers were going to take the youngest nun, but Sr. Cecilia volunteered to take her place.
During the last four years there has been proof the sister is still alive, and she has asked for prayers so she can remain steadfast in her faith.