(CNS News) The International Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic organization, is reporting that some of its members in Syria were kidnapped by the Islamic State last week and told that if the adults do not deny their Christian faith, they will be decapitated and “their children burned alive in cages.”
Sister Monique states, “Late Sunday afternoon on 1 March 2015, I received a message from M. Francoise, a delegate of the International Society of St. Vincent de Paul [in Rome], and I managed to reach her by telephone.
“She was leaving for Paris, and collapsed at the news she had just received: members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Syria were kidnapped, along with their wives and children.
“The children were isolated and put into cages. Adults who do not deny their faith will be decapitated, and their children burned alive in the cages.
“M. Francoise had been in regular contact with several of them before all this occurred. She asked me to transmit the news and make a fervent appeal for prayers for these people, and all who are held hostage.
“Let us remain fervently united in prayer, and have as our intention the welfare of all brothers and sisters in our Christian faith who are being held hostage.”
On Mar. 4, Rev. Freund provided an update: “ISIS released at least 19 Christians on Sunday [Mar. 1] who were among the more than 220 people the militants took captive in northeastern Syria last week, activists and a local leader said.
“The news provided a modicum of relief to a Christian Assyrian community that has been devastated by the abductions, which saw Islamic State fighters haul off entire families from a string of villages along the Khabur River in Hassakeh province.
“But fears remain over the fate of the hundreds still held captive.”
According to an Associated Press report, “all those [19 people] released were around 50 years of age or older, which suggests age might have been a factor. The Assyrian Human Rights Network, meanwhile, said the captives had been ordered released by a Shariah court after paying an unspecified amount of money levied as a tax on non-Muslims.”
The Vincentian Family, according to its Web site, “incorporates all the associations founded by St. Vincent de Paul or inspired by his mission,” including the Ladies of Charity founded in 1617, the Daughters of Charity founded in 1633, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul founded in 1833, and the Lay Vincentian Missionaries founded in 1999.