Nun released nearly five years after kidnapping in Mali thanks God

Walter Sanchez Silva   By Walter Sanchez Silva for CNA

Sister Gloria Cecilia Narváez / CEC

Rome, Italy, Oct 19, 2021 / 16:39 pm (CNA).

Sister Gloria Cecilia Narváez Argoti, a missionary who was abducted in Mali in February 2017 and held for nearly five years, posted Sunday on Twitter thanking God and all those who made possible her liberation.

In her Oct. 17 message, Sr. Gloria said, “I want to lift up my thanksgiving to God on this day because I have felt him close to me during this captivity.”

“My thanks to His Holiness Pope Francis, to the Italian government, to the Italian intelligence agencies, to the Malian authorities, to Cardinal Zerbo,” the nun said.

After she was released, Jean Cardinal Zerbo of Bamako told AFP, “We  prayed a lot for her release. I thank the Malian authorities and the people of goodwill which made this release possible.”

Sr. Gloria also thanked “Dr. Iván Duque, President of Colombia, and the entire Colombian government, the Colombian ambassador to Italy, Dr. Jorge Mario, GAULA, the Bishops’  Conference, the bishops and priests, the mean and women religious, parish groups, committed laity, prayer groups ”

The nun also thanked “the educational institutions, teaching and administrative staff, students and alumni, the congregation of Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate, my family, all those people who prayed for me and made my liberation possible, and those who have strengthened me and have welcomed me with their kind gestures of fraternity, a sincere ‘May God reward you.’”

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.

In July Sr. Cecilia identified the group then holding her as Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, a militant Islamist group in West Africa and the Maghreb.

She was released Oct. 9.

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