“I clung to faith in God,” said Sister Gloria Cecilia Narvaez about her kidnapping. Last Sunday, October 10, during the celebration of the Mass for the opening of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality, Pope Francis greeted Colombian missionary Gloria Cecilia Narvaez Argori, kidnapped in 2017 in Mali and recently released. Oscar Elizalde, interim Director of the Center for Communication of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), talked with Sister Gloria who described to him what happened to her during her captivity.
According to a CELAM note, what happened to the Colombian nun was a real drama. She described how many women religious kidnapped together with her, were “deformed a lot,” by their captors, and “gagged”; without a doubt that whole time was a harsh calvary, hence she did not hesitate to assert that she “clung to faith in God.”
The Bishops of Colombia expressed their joy through Monsignor Mario Alvarez, President of the Episcopate’s Missions Commission, who said that “soon we will be giving details of this release.” “We thank God for this moment; we congratulate the Congregation, the universal Church and we are very grateful for the negotiations of the Holy See, the Apostolic Nunciature in Colombia, and the Episcopal Conference,” said the Prelate.
According to “Vatican News,” the nun was kidnapped by four armed men in the parish of Karangasso, on the border between Mali and Burkina Faso, 400 kilometers east of Bamako, where she and three other nuns had worked as missionaries for six years.
A few months after the kidnapping, a video came out in July of 2017 claimed by Al Qaeda. At the same time, a message sent to her brother through the Red Cross made it known that she was a prisoner of a new group. The Christian community of Bamako organized several Eucharistic Celebrations and prayed for her. In 2020, three years after the kidnapping, the Catholic Church of the country organized a Day of Prayer for her release.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester