The 6.2-magnitude earthquake that rocked Italy last week awakened Sister Marjana Lleshi from her sleep.
Her convent in Amatrice was destroyed and she was wounded and trapped under her bed. Lleshi thought she was going to die and began sending goodbye messages to her loved ones.
She was ready to face her fate when she heard the voice of Louis, a young Columbian caregiver at the convent, who called out for everyone.
"I looked around and saw everything was crumbling," Lleshi said, according to the Catholic News Agency.
Lleshi said she woke up 30 minutes after the initial shock from the earthquake, which killed about 290 people, and rubble fell around her.
"I had a cut on my head and I asked for help. I looked toward the street, where people were lost and confused" but "no one responded to me," she said.
Lleshi said she grabbed a sweater and her veil before going under her bed where she stayed until help arrived.
"It was at that point that I resigned myself. I asked for help in vain. So I began to send messages to loved ones warning that there was an earthquake, that there was no longer hope, that I would die and that it was farewell," she said.
During that time, she thought about her loved ones and the choices she made in her life.
"I retraced my life and saw that the choice to offer it for others was the only one I wanted to make" and "it was precisely in that moment that I heard the voice of the young man calling me, and in that voice I heard the voice of God, who was calling me to life," she said.
Lleshi is a sister at the Handmaids of the Lord.
Of the 15 people who were staying at the convent at the time, four elderly and three sisters died, their bodies are still under the rubble.
When Louis picked her up, they heard the cries of two other sisters.
"Among the rubble I heard one of our sisters asking for help. While we tried to understand where the voice was coming from, we heard another sister complaining because she couldn't breathe and her legs were blocked," she said.
The two sisters were rescued and were sent to the hospital.
Lleshi said Louis was "the angel that God sent when I thought I would die and when everything around me was crumbling. It was leveled to the ground and I was like the tip of an inverted cone in the midst of the rubble of crumbs."
She said she does not know why God saved her, saying "I saw a God who, in the midst of death, gave life."
"Thinking of the sisters who are still under the rubble, I have to say that I am no holier than them. So I ask myself, why was I saved and not them?" she said.
Tragedies, Lleshi said, "reveal what man is regardless of his religion, of his culture, of the goodness of the person itself. Take me. I am no better than the people who didn't make it. I was saved. Why?"
"Asking me now is useless because I will never have an answer. But sooner or later I will understand, God willing, what he wants of me," she said.