Religious Sisters are planning to return to their home in the Nineveh Plains in order to continue their mission of help and healing to the thousands of Christian families returning there.

Sister Clara Nas, a Dominican Sister of St. Catherine of Sienna, the Prioress of the badly damaged Immaculate Mary Convent in Qaraqosh, a large Christian town in Nineveh, spoke to Aid to the Church in Need about the importance of maintaining the Christian presence in Iraq.

Seeking to help Christians in towns and villages across Nineveh, Sister Clara added: “We have decided to return to our towns as we trust that our presence in the area will encourage the Christian families to return to their homelands.”

Despite 30 percent of Qaraqosh being destroyed by Daesh’s (ISIS) genocidal violence, it is estimated that about 1,050 families returned to their homes during August.

In total, approximately 13,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by Daesh during their 27-month occupation of the Nineveh Plains.

Aid to the Church in Need is repairing many of these homes and is helping the Sisters sustain their witness to hope in the rebuilding of their Qaraqosh convent.

Sister Clara intends to send members of her congregation to the rebuilt convent as and when the security conditions allow. With inspiring forthrightness the good sister added ‘We want to rebuild and return home.” And in doing so she thanked ACN for all the emergency relief assistance it provided her community and the many thousands of displaced Christians over the past three years.

In particular Sister Clara voiced her deep appreciation for ACN’s leading role in founding and funding of the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee (NRC) which aims to return up to 15,000 Christians to Qaraqosh alone. So far almost 1,000 family homes have been restored in the area.

The Sister’s comments were echoed by Archbishop Jean Sleiman of Baghdad who highlighted the importance of the continuing Christian presence in Iraq.

Speaking in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, he said the Christian community should not “act like a minority anxiously clinging to a past history, [but] we must rebuild our homeland with hope in the future and on the basis of the God given dignity of every human person.”

He added: “The Christians of Iraq are citizens of a great nation, and not a minority imprisoned by their own helplessness.”

In recent weeks, ACN has provided €900,000 towards the emergency shelter for up to 12,000 displaced Christian families – 60,000 people – still in Erbil, Kurdish northern Iraq. Many of these families are now preparing to return to their homes in Nineveh.

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Love One Another

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

 

Romans 13: 8-10

Second Reading Sunday 10 September, 2017