An order of Dominican nuns in Iraq, committed to living and preaching the Gospel amidst the horrors of war, are determined to stay.
“We will not leave our people. Wherever they go, we will go,” says Sister Huda who is 66 years-old. She, along with other remaining sisters, is serving 200 children, most of whom are from Mosel.
Bible Translation Work
The Dominican Nuns also partner with Bible Society Iraq to facilitate Bible Translation work. Bible Society Iraq CEO Nabil Omeish explained the two groups have been working together for 30 years on the Bahdini (Kurdish language) New Testament Bible translation and are also working on the Old Testament.
Sister Huda recalled the sufferings they have experienced, and the hope and faith that sustained them.
“It was an August night in 2014 and the nuns fled their city she said. My sisters left during the day. I stayed with one sister to help Christian families in the city. In the evening by 11pm, we also decided to flee with thousands of other Christians.
“The next day our sisters received us with tears. Finally we were safe in Kurdistan. I remember the fear, pain, anxiety and the crying children in the darkness,” said Sister Huda.
“As Dominican sisters, we should be present where people need us. I will never forget that night. I always pray to the Lord that no one should ever experience this humiliation and horror.
“We concentrated on praying, we prayed with tears. I imagined I was in the middle of the sea on a shaken boat. I realised that Jesus had always been with us, just as he was with his disciples on the boat, we have to be strong for the others.”
Rebuilding for the future
“We have now established ourselves in Qaraqosh and Bartella. Since Neinevieh plain was liberated, but nobody has returned yet to Mosel, because what Isis have done to the city was inhuman, the destruction is huge,” she said.
“Many damaged houses are rebuilt or repaired, shops has been reopened, including restaurants, a surgery, and one hospital is serving many cities and life is slowly and laboriously starting again. However, there is still so much work to be done.
“The number of returning Christians are changing, because people still going back or leaving, there are no official figures, Iraq church leaders said they are between 25,000-30,000 people,” explained Sister Huda.
- Christians hope to raise their children in a peaceful environment, please pray for speedy reconstruction work.
- The Dominican sisters wish to continue to bring Jesus to these people who have suffered and lost hope. “Iraqi Christians here continue to trust and put their faith in God,” said Sister Huda. Please pray this continues.
- “And lastly please pray for the strength, safety and the return of the Iraqi Christians,” she asked.
Origins of Dominican nuns
The Dominican congregation was founded in Mosul in the late 19th century. Over the decades, the nuns have operated schools and clinics throughout the country.