A 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked the Italian town of Amatrice last August 24. The disaster has claimed 267 lives so far, including several foreigners. Rescuers and emergency teams continue to search the three flattened hilltop towns and the Italian government has declared a state of emergency in the region, The Guardian reports.
Amidst the horrifying videos and images of what was left after the disaster, a dramatic photo of a nun who survived the earthquake went viral. Her picture has now become the picture of the tragedy.
Sister Marjana Lleshi, a religious sister of the Handmaids of the Lord, had woken about 30 minutes after the initial shock from the earthquake early in the morning. Rubble was falling from the ceiling and had left a gash on the forehead. Sister Marjana grabbed her veil and a sweater and crawled under her bed where she stayed throughout the ordeal.
As time passed, her hope began to waver but her will to live was still high. She began texting “goodbye” messages to her loved ones as she believed that she won’t be able to survive.
“When I started losing all hope of being saved, I resigned myself to it and started sending messages to friends saying to pray for me and to pray for my soul,” she told the Associated Press. “I said goodbye to them forever.”
As the Albanian nun contemplated on her life and decisions in preparation for death, she heard a shout, “Sister Marjana, Sister Marjana.” She heard the voice of a young man who took care of one of the aged persons in the convent-run nursing home. Sister Marjana says that this was an affirmation of God’s gift of life in times of darkness.
Sister Marjana was pulled out of the collapsed building and taken to the side of the road. She began texting her friends to tell them that she had survived. A photographer from Italy’s Ansa news agency caught the moment in a picture reproduced around the world.
The young man who rescued her was her “angel”, Sister Marjana said.
Francismaryorg. (2016). One Million Who Say The Rosary Daily. http://www.francismary.org/tag/sister-marjana-lleshi/
Theguardiancom. (2016). The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/26/i-had-said-adieu-nun-tells-of-italian-earthquake-ordeal
Worldreligionnewscom. (2016). World Religion News. http://www.worldreligionnews.com/religion-news/christianity/dramatic-photo-of-nun-who-survived-italy-earthquake-goes-viral