Tag: Iraq

Dominican Sister tells of experience with refugees

Dominican-Iraqi sister Habiba Bihnam Toma spoke about the time she spent helping refugees after bombings in northern Iraq in 2014.

Toma said she and her fellow sisters did not want to leave Qaraqosh, Iraq until everyone in the village had fled, but upon hearing news that ISIS was on its way, they were forced to retreat.

“A friend called me and tearfully pleaded that the sisters leave quickly,” Toma, who began learning English in the fall, said. “ISIS had already entered…and we were in grave danger.”

To read the entire story, click here.

On the run from ISIS

ERBIL, Iraq—The murderous advance of the Islamic State has forced more than 1.7 million people in Iraq from their homes. The displaced come from various religious, ethnic and economic backgrounds — suggesting that this is still a diverse country, despite years of war and bloodshed.

Here are some of the stories from those who recently had to flee their homes.

A Dominican Sister

“We had only one choice: face death or leave,” says Sister Luma, a nun of the Dominican order who left her hometown of Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian town, in August — one of roughly 50,000 Christians who fled ISIS’s advance on the ancient town.

Donate: Help Iraqi Christians

Special Collections in Parishes

The bishops of the United States will express their solidarity with Christians and other minorities in the Middle East in the face of ongoing violence and persecution by taking up a special collection. Proceeds from the collection will support immediate humanitarian and pastoral needs, as well as the cost of long-term church reconstruction.

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Homily for Saturday, August 23, 2014

Readings for Today

“The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.”  This was the response to your psalm today.  I am not sure why it struck me so today, but as I heard it I began to wonder if I really believed what I was saying.  I must confess there are times when it seems hard to believe this sentence.  Does God dwell in our land?  Do we really see his glory?

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From a Dominican Friar in Iraq

[This originally appeared on the website of the Dominican Order.]

It is a humanitarian disaster. I have witnessed a hard time and a bitter history of my country and especially my beloved Church. The monster of our time (ISIS) maims all without mercy. When I see Christians persecuted in my country, humiliated and driven from their homes, it really hurt my heart. In addition, before the genocide of Christians in Iraq, there is a total silence from the international community. The fate of Christians rests between humiliation and departure, what misery! At this time of disruption, sometimes, I receive words or an email to give me a little courage, that’s nice. But now, I would like at this time to offer a practical approach from someone who is in a chaotic situation and who really needs support.

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Dominican Sisters Update from Iraq

[This originally appeared on the website of the Dominican Order.]

Dear Sisters, Brothers and Friends,

You might be surprised that we are writing this letter so soon since you received the last one. But events are happening so quickly here shocking everybody because of its brutality and cruelty. On the night of the Feast of Transfiguration shooting started after mid-night, and continued until noon of the next day. On the morning of the sixth of June many shells fell on Karakosh. Between 8:30 and 9:00 a shell fell on a house and it killed two boys (nine and five years old) who were playing in the garden; and it also killed a 37 year-old woman who was trying to pull water from the pipes. This caused many people to leave the town for their lives. On the afternoon almost all people who remained went out for the funeral of the victims at the church. Although atmosphere of the funeral was sad and calm, it was obvious that people were scared of something would happen.

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Aug 4 Update Dominican Sisters in Iraq

Thank you for journeying with us through prayers and support in the past few months. It really is a time of peril and we are hoping that a miracle from God will end all that.

So far, 510 families have been displaced from Mosul. Some were fortunate to leave before the deadline ISIS set as they were able to take their belongings with them. However, 160 families of them left Mosul with only their clothes on; everything they had was taken away from them.

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