Armed robbers attack nun and elderly women in raid on Tanzanian convent

The Poor Clare sisters in Mwanza
The Poor Clare sisters in Mwanza

.- Earlier this month a gang of armed robbers broke into a Tanzanian convent, attacking a nun, workers, and four elderly women in the sisters’ care. News of the attack prompted an international Catholic charity to provide assistance to repair the convent’s broken doors.

The group of about 25 assailants broke into the Poor Clares’ Monastery of St. Mary of the Angels in Mwanza. They hit Sr. Mary Noel on the head with the flat side of a machete and repeatedly struck her back. During the attack, they stole money and mobile phones.

Abbess Sr. Mary Assumpta, who leads the 45 nuns at the monastery, described the attack in a letter to the charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

“When the attackers came, Sr. Noel was not afraid. She told us: ‘God has given the courage’,” Sr. Mary Assumpta wrote.

She said that moments after the attack on Sr. Noel other nuns arrived and “implored with all their strength for God’s help.”

Within two days of the attack, a dozen people were arrested in connection with the crime and were put in police custody.

At least eight doors were damaged or destroyed in the attack, leaving the Sisters vulnerable to further violence.

Sr. Mary Assumpta appealed to ACN for help in replacing the doors.

The charity provided urgent aid of about $2,200, prompting the abbess to say their support was an “encouragement” which invigorated their apostolate “especially when we are passing through these difficult days.”

The attack coincided with an approximately $8,400 grant from ACN funding a solar system for electricity for the convent.

ACN reported that Sr. Mary Noel’s current condition was unknown. The sisters were traumatized by the attack but are slowly recovering.