Dominicans Concerned for Community in Iraq

Elderly Nuns Defending Motherhouse from Terrorists

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ROME, MARCH 11, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Dominicans in various countries are expressing concern for their sisters in Iraq and other Christians under attack in that country.

On Tuesday, Dominican Father Philip Neri Powell, of the philosophy faculty in Rome’s Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, posted a letter on his blog detailing the “terrible situation of our Dominican sisters in Iraq and the entire Christian community in Mosul.”

The letter, written by Sister Donna Markham, prioress of the Adrian Dominicans in Michigan, related “very tragic news about the situation in Iraq.”

She explained that she had been with several Iraqi sisters who are currently in the United States.

Sister Markham stated that the Christians are all fleeing Mosul.

She continued: “There have been murders and rapes of Christians there and for now they are fleeing to the Christian villages.

“Sister Maria [prioress of the Iraqi nuns] is very frightened about the safety of the sisters and the Christian people.”

“As of now, the five elderly sisters who have been holding down the Motherhouse are choosing to remain there because they do not want to lose their Motherhouse to the terrorists,” Sister Markham said.

Evacuation

She added that her Iraqi sister reported that “most Christians are making plans to evacuate from Iraq and, as a consequence, she does not know what will happen with her congregation.”

“She said they will follow the Christian people where they go, but where that will be is uncertain,” the letter noted. “The sisters’ families remain in grave danger and, as you can imagine, the young ones with us and with Springfield are terrified.”

Sister Markham lamented that “nothing is being reported” by many media sources.

Speaking on behalf of her Iraqi sisters, the nun asked for others to spread the word and to send prayers to the Christians suffering in Iraq.

Over the past few weeks, a killing spree has claimed many lives. Among these, eight Christians were murdered in the span of 10 days, and many others are fleeing Mosul.

Some 15,000 Christians remain in the Muslim-majority city of Mosul, where their families have lived for 2,000 years.

For this reason, Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk declared a day of fasting and prayer at the beginning of the month for an end to the violence.

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