September 5, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – The General Council of the Adrian Dominican Sisters issued the following response to President Donald Trump’s end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA granted a path to citizenship for young adults who, as children, immigrated to the United States with their parents, but without legal documentation.
The Adrian Dominican Sisters decry the Trump Administration’s harsh action to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has protected more than 800,000 young people from being deported from the only country they know as home.
Our Sisters have worked side-by-side with young “Dreamers” under the DACA program to help them remain in school, seek employment, and come out of the shadows as vibrant contributing members of our communities. We grieve for the pain and hardship this will cause them and their families. This ill-considered and disgraceful action runs counter to our national and economic interests as well as to basic American values of decency in how we treat others, especially the young.
As women of faith who have long called for immigration reform, we urge Congress to take immediate action to protect these young people – Americans in every sense of the word – by enacting the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017.
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.