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“The Bernardines of Esquermes of the Monastère Notre Dame du Lac in the city of Goma were not directly touched by lava streams of the volcanic eruption of Mount Nyiragongo during the night of 22nd to 23rd May. However, since this first eruption, there have been continual aftershocks, some of them very violent.

The monastery has many cracks and fissures. Subterranean magma is welling up in the region causing some wide fissures in the city, and the fear that there could be another eruption anywhere; this would be particularly dangerous if it occurs under Lake Kivu because of the toxic gases that would be released.

The military Governor of the city has today ordered the compulsory evacuation of ten districts, including the one in which our sisters live. Along with crowds of evacuees, they travelled towards Sake, where they were met by the monks of Mokoto, who are kindly welcoming them for the time being. Our sisters are very grateful for this fraternal gesture.

Please pray for the inhabitants of the Goma and Gisenyi region. ”

Sr Mary Helen
General Prioress of The Bernardine Cistercians of Esquermes

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