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Former Prioress of Dominican Sisters of Iraq Recounts Community’s Return Home

August 30, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – A few weeks after the third anniversary of their displacement from their homes on the plain of Nineveh in Iraq due to the threat of ISIS, the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena of Iraq are beginning to return home – to face new challenges.

Sister Marie Therese Hanna, OP, former Prioress and member of the community’s General Council, gave an update on the lives of the Sisters following Mass August 30 at St. Catherine Chapel at the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Motherhouse.

“Today we see the marvelous work of God,” she said. “The rebuilding process started. Many of the families returned to their homes in the two Christian cities, Telskuf and Qaraqush.” The Sisters are also beginning to return, living in small houses because of the extensive damage done to their convents, and are planning to open private schools. 

For the past three years, the Sisters had been living as internally displaced persons in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq, reaching out through schools, clinics, and their very presence to other refugees also living in difficult situations. The Sisters and other residents of the Nineveh Plains area were able to return to their homes after the recent liberation of the area by Iraqi forces. However, they found their homes to be severely damaged.

Sister Marie Therese noted that her community faces external and internal challenges: destruction of their communities, the difficulty of change by leaving behind the lives they had led for three years. 

“What matters to us is to understand the will of god in our uncertain circumstances,” she said. “It is not important for us to have buildings or projects, but have mission and serve our people and accompany them because we have the same fate.”

In the past three years – with its drama, challenges, and hope – the Dominican Sisters felt the “powerful prayer” of their Dominican family in the United States. “On behalf of our Sister Clara, our Prioress General, and the Council and the Sisters, I want to thank you, Sister Patricia [Siemen], the Councilors, and each of you for your love, prayers, solidarity, and concern.”

For more information on the situation of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, of Iraq, read the update written by Sister Clara Nas, OP, Prioress, on the third anniversary of the ISIS attack, August 6, 2017.

Feature photo: Sister Marie Therese Hanna, OP, seated, left, met with the General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters: Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, seated right, and, standing, from left, Sisters Elise García, OP, Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Patricia Harvat, OP, and Frances Nadolny, OP. 


Second Building of Dominican School of Angeles Blessed on Feast of St. Rose of Lima

By Sister Zenaida Nacpil, OP
Chapter Prioress, Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter

August 28, 2017, Angeles City, the Philippines – The Adrian Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter blessed a second school building of Dominican School of Angeles City – the Virgin de los Remedies Building – on August 23, the Feast of St. Rose of Lima. 

Most Rev. Paciano B. Aniceto, DD, Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, presided over the joyful event, assisted by Father John Tordera, Deacon Herwyn Bulaun, and Sister Michelle Salalila, OP.

Dominican School of Angeles City, located in the impoverished Barangay (village) of Mining, Angeles City, opened six years ago with three kindergarten students. At the time of the construction of the new building, the enrollment stood at 238 students in grades kindergarten through 10. The new building was constructed to house six more classrooms and spaces large enough for school Masses and physical education, to allow the school to add grades 11 and 12.

The blessing of the new building included ribbon-cutting ceremonies in various areas of the building. The ribbon for the main entrance to the lobby was cut by Sister Zenaida S. Nacpil, OP, Chapter Prioress and Engineer Allan and Maricel Gatpolintan. Leilani Samson-Cunanan, Deputy Superintendent of Education for Angeles City, cut the ribbon for the right staircase while the ribbon for the left staircase was cut by Teresita Celis. The ribbon for the Business Office was cut by Sister Rosita Yaya, OP. Sister Liberty Mendoza, OP, cut the ribbon for the chapel.

Sisters, special guests, friends, and benefactors shared in joy and gratitude for the occasion. Sister Gudelia Kabigting, OP, and students in grades 9 and 10 led the choir in the festive singing.

The new building, supported in part with a grant from the Adrian Dominican Sisters, is a concrete way to implement the Enactment from the 2016 Adrian Dominican General Chapter, calling on the Congregation to “create resilient communities with people who are relegated to the margins, valuing their faith, wisdom and integrity.”

The Dominican School of Angeles City is located in the Clark Freeport Zone – the former U.S. Clark Air Force Base – where the young are at risk of becoming involved in the sex trade, human trafficking, or drugs. The school provides affordable Catholic education to children from low-income families. Academic training in accountancy, business, and management, in tandem with eco-faming, care of creation, and training in culinary vocational skills, are being built up for the senior high school students in the new building.

Members of the Our Lady of Remedies Mission Chapter express their deepest gratitude to our Congregational leaders, Sisters, friends, and families, benefactors, and all who supported this project financially and through prayer.

Clockwise: From left, Sisters Gudelia Kabigting, OP, Zenaida Nacpil, OP, and Michelle Salalila, OP, with members of the construction crew. Sister Gudelia Kabigting, OP, plays the guitar with Sister Antonette Lumbang, OP, and students from ninth and 10th grades. Participating in the blessing of the school are, from left, Deacon Herwyn Bulaun, Sister Michelle Salalila, OP; and Father John Torfera.


 

 

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