Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 29 July |
Saint of the Day: Sts Martha, Mary and Lazarus of Bethany
home iconInspiring Stories
line break icon

Sister Carol: A much-needed smile in Aleppo

Exchanges Photos | CC

Daniel Esparza - published on 04/19/17

The Salesian nun runs a school for thousands of students. Ninety percent of them are Muslims

“Smiling while being bombed takes courage,” said Sister Carol Tahhan Fachakh, a Salesian nun born in Aleppo 46 years ago, to L’Osservatore Romano. In a meeting with Pope Francis in Rome, Sister Carol — the daughter of an Armenian woman who fled her country to keep her family from being slaughtered — explained both her mission and her “love for Syria” to the Pontiff: she’s a chemist who discovered her vocation while helping disabled children in a missionary experience (led by the Canadian Catholic philosopher and theologian Jean Vanier) among refugees in Lebanon, in the Bekaa Valley. Years later, she became the founder of a school for thousands of students, 90 percent Muslim.

In their school, Sister Carol explains, “we welcome everyone with open arms, like a big family, the Salesian style, trying to overcome, together, the fear caused by missiles and bombs.”

As reported in L’Osservatore Romano, Sister Carol has just received the International Women of Courage Award at the Department of State in Washington, from the hands of U.S. First Lady Melania Trump. Sister Carol joined 12 other “brave women who carry out their mission in dangerous areas, showing courage, strength and leadership while promoting peace, justice, human rights and the dignity of women, often at great personal risk.”

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.