U.S. Dominicans have been very connected with the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena of Iraq. During the war, most of their young sisters were sent to Europe and to the U.S. for safety.
Seven sisters came with student visas to the motherhouse and attended Siena Heights University in Adrian or Barry University in Miami. At the time their motherhouse was in Mosul, but after it was firebombed several times during the war, they had to abandon it and move further north to a town in the plain of Nineveh. In August 2014, with only a few hours notice, they were forced out by ISIS and became refugees in Erbil along with thousands of Christians and other minorities.
Three Dominican Sisters and two Dominican priests have traveled to Iraq to visit the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine and the families who have had to flee their homes and are now living as refugees in Erbil. Sr Durstyne (Dusty) Farnan is one of the three Dominicans, accompanied by a Dominican Sister from Blauvelt, NY, and one from Springfield, IL.
Through the generosity of donors across the Dominican family, the trip is completely financed. According to Catholic Relief Services, it is safe for them to visit the Kurdish areas where they themselves are serving at this time.
In addition to visiting the Sisters and the family members who are still there, they will be visiting Catholic Relief Services, the UN refugee agency (the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), Caritas, and the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, among other groups. They will also have the opportunity to drive to Dohuk, where the majority of the Christians are living in camps along with other minorities.”
Please keep these sisters and priests in your prayers, as well as our sisters in Iraq.