Three years ago, ISIS overtook the Dominican sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Qaraqosh, Iraq when the terrorist group demolished their convent on August 6, 2014. In that time, 24 sisters died as a result of the destruction and fear that surrounded them, some simply dying of fright in their sleep.
Now, six of the original 36 Dominicans are returning to their land, after the liberation of Qaraqosh. Sr. Silvia said the sisters are determined to keep Christianity alive in these regions, because she says, it’s a part of their roots.
“Our history of Christianity is there. When our ancestors left, they went to live there. We have more than 200 years of history there. We left, but the Lord helped us return after three years. Our job there is to not only help the children, but also the people who are coming from the Nineveh Plains or Mosul. To help everyone have hope that God has not abandoned them and will never abandon us.”
This Dominican nun assures that the Nineveh Plains have always been majority Christian. This is why the sisters hold it so dear to them to return, to help keep Christianity alive and accompany the 300 families who are returning and rebuilding a life in Qaraqosh.
She says Muslims also suffer from the affects of ISIS in the area and offer help to the Christians, especially the sisters.
“When our sisters went to see our convents, these Muslim guys were so good to our sisters. To enter these countries, everyone must stand in line and show their documents, to know who you are and why you are going. When they see us sisters, they allow us to enter right away. They say we are pure like the Blessed Mother. They tell us this. They love Mary so much; all Muslims love Mary.”
Now, this community will be working together to rebuild their lives, trying to gain some bit of normalcy back. The sisters, with the help of organizations like Aid to the Church in Need, are hoping to soon have a house. All sisters could then return and they can once again teach the children in their home city, while carefully protecting their deep Christian roots.