BAGHDAD, Iraq, OCT. 21, 2003 (ZENIT.org–Avvenire).- Four Missionaries of Charity in Baghdad, and 24 children entrusted to their care, joined in worldwide celebrations for Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s beatification on Sunday.
The Iraqi government had given the Missionaries a house in Baghdad since 1990. “In addition to caring for the children, our task has been to provide food and medicine for the population,” Sister Nancy explained.
According to their superior, Sister Densy, the bombs of Gulf War II; the death of over 500,000 children since 1990 from lack of food and medicine — due to the siphoning of international relief under what has been called Saddam Hussein’s “Oil for Palaces Program”; and a shortage of electricity, are the greatest scourges for the people.
“Following Mother Teresa’s teachings to be always amid the earth’s poorest, we have tried to do what was possible in these months, especially for these children with physical and mental disabilities,” Sister Densy noted.
During the days of the siege of Baghdad, “we tried to maintain calm and to give consolation and hope to our children, and to keep a smile on their lips. We would tell them: ‘God is protecting us.’ When the war broke out, Sister Nirmala, our superior, gave us the possibility to leave the country. The four of us decided to stay here to look after our little ones.”
Iraq is not the only war-torn country where the Missionaries of Charity have worked. Of 710 religious houses founded in 132 countries, many exist in nations in permanent war, such as Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Colombia and Israel.