New Zealand Tablet, Volume XXIV, Issue 6, 5 June 1896, Page 15
LKTTEB FBOM A CATHOLIC NUN.
I havb given the poor people (writes Mere C6cile, superioresa of the Franciscan Sisters at Orfa) as much as ever I could : our window* curtains and bed-hangings, all the linen and clothing we could spare ; I also bought both clothes, bread, and other kinds of food. By this means I have run into debt, and yet tbtre is scarcely anything left. All wt have done to help appears as nothing, so great, so very great is the distress around as. B fore October 28 it was calculated there were 4,000 Armenian families in Orfa ; by December 29 only 500 families bad escaped unscathed. No less thon 480 families have been entirely exterminated, and in over 3,000 several, or even the majority, of the members are missing. The number of men and youths slaughtered exceeds, as I hear, 8,000, and nearly 3,000 women and children met their death in the Armenian church (in which they had taken refuge). Of about 7,000 wounded, all except about 80, have succumbed to their wounds. All the Armenian houses have been plundered and laid waste ; 300 bazaars, belonging to the Armenians and Catholics, have been pillaged and destroyed. The last onslaught occurred quite unexpectedly on a Saturday, when everybody was busy with washing clothes. This attack was terrible : more than a thousand victims in twenty-four hours. Poor as well as rich were, according to the Eastern custom on washing-day, but very scantily clad, and in this condition they had to fly. Nobody dared to return to his house, and so they sought refuge in the mosques. Indescribable is the grief, the terror, and the misery of oar people, and even now, after a relatively quiet month, threats are not wanting. A fresh attack was planned for last Friday, but did not come off. In many districts (we read elsewhere) the non-Uoiate or Schismatic Armenians have been really martyrs and confessors of their faith. The Mussulmans called upon called upon them to embrace the religion of their Prophet, and so save themselves, but a great number firmly refused, and were cut down at once. The Mussulmans (continues Mere Cdoile) take possession of the women and children who please them. She also says : We have amongst our present poor many who were formerly benefactors and real friends of our mission. They dare not stretch out tbeir hands to anybody else but the Fathers and Sisters. Very likely we shall soon be overtaken by misery, but shall do all that is possible to the rery end, and if Almighty God calls us to Himself, we hope for heaven from His mercy. Perhaps some of the members of our dear mission of Mesopotamia have told you already of our visitations and begged als3 from your charity ; but allow me all the same to turn to you, for I know nobody else to whom I can turn. ... lam not discouraged, but at my wits' ends : I dare not beg any more, but I humbly stretch out my band to you, madam, for an alms. In heaven we shall have much to atk one another, but at present it is at the feet of Jesus, Who dwells in your chapel, as well as in that of the poor Sisters in Orfa, that we pour forth our gratitude and religious affection. The sad news given by Me;e CYcile from Orfa is repeated from other places, Karput, Mardin, Malatia, Marraßh and many others in the neighbourhood, in letters received by Messrs W. and Joseph Poche, two Catholic gentlemen of high position in Aleppo, one of whom is procurator of several missionary houses. These gentlemen state that where formerly Christian villages etood, nothing is now to be seen but heaps of ruins. Jq all the townß and villages terrible butcheries have taken place, thousands of Christians murdered and their property destroyed. At Yinije, near Marrash, and in Malatia, the church and the hospice were burnt to the ground.— London Tail