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Kneeling Nun from Myanmar who went viral tells her story in a new book

On February 1, a military coup overthrew the government of Myanmar.

One month later this photo of Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng confronting the military forces on her knees went viral on social media.

Now, Sister Tawng is telling the story of her resistance in a new book, titled “Uccidete me, non la gente,” “Kill me, not the people.”

She says her courageous act was merely a way of defending those behind her.

Sisters of St. Francis Xavier
“I only wanted to defend the people since they were in danger. I just wanted to save those people, the young people. For this reason I got on my knees to let the young people escape from the danger.”

The iconic image was posted to Twitter by the Archbishop of Yangon, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, who has been a fierce critic of the coup. His account has since been suspended.

Although Sister Tawng is shown alone before the military in the photo, she says that God was always with her amid the danger.

Sisters of St. Francis Xavier
“The Holy Spirit led me to make this gesture. I thought that God was working through me to save these people. For this reason I did it.”

The image of the nun on her knees begging for peace amid violence is a powerful symbol of mercy and reconciliation.

Sisters of St. Francis Xavier
“Today we think that when getting on your knees before someone is a bad thing, when really it’s not. It’s a gesture of reconciliation, it also means forgiving your enemy. This gesture is important within families too.”

Pope Francis has been one of the world’s most outspoken global leaders on the crisis in Myanmar. The Pope dedicated a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to pray for peace in the country.

Over 800 civilians have been killed by military forces in Myanmar since February, and over 4,000 are currently being detained.