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Physician Speaks of Universal Health Care as a Civil Right

July 10, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – For some people, universal health care might be a complex issue that is brought up during election years. But for Johnathon S. Ross, a Toledo physician and a Past President of Physicians for a National Health Program, it is a civil rights issue, a right for all people.

Dr. Ross gave a presentation on universal health care June 24, 2019, at Weber Retreat and Conference Center. He outlined the history of efforts in the United States to enact universal health care and spoke of the deteriorating access that many Americans have to health care, the financial burdens when the cost of health care rises or when facing a catastrophic illness while uninsured or underinsured, and the danger of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which would leave 50 million people uninsured.

Drawing on his Christian roots, Dr. Ross spoke of the incident in which Jesus cast out the money-changers in the temple in Matthew 21:12-14. “The metaphor is that we’ve got the money-changers in the temple of medicine,” he said. “People who never look a sick person in the eyes are the ones who are in charge of writing off health care.” In many cases, he added, physicians have also been seduced by the lure of more money. 

Dr. Ross spoke passionately of the need for the United States to continue to work on offering affordable health care to all people in the country. He quoted the Golden Rule in the Christian tradition – and similar principles in other religious faiths – that call on people not to do to others what they would not want to have done to themselves. “So the question is, when we have our friends, neighbors, comrades, children, aunts, grandmas, and grandpas who are uninsured, why are we doing that to them?” he asked. 

For more information on the issue, visit the website for Physicians for a National Health Program.


Prioress of Dominican Sisters in Iraq Gives Update on Her Community

June 13, 2019, Adrian, Michigan – The Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, in Iraq, have returned to their community on the Nineveh Plain after years of internal displacement in Northern Iraq – and are now ministering to people there. But, as they rebuild their lives they depend on prayers from the Dominican family.

That was the message that Sister Clara Nas, OP, Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, brought to Sisters in the Adrian Dominican Congregation during a recent presentation in Adrian. 

Sister Raghad Saeed, OP, left, offers a translation of the message of Sister Clara Nas, OP, Prioress of the Dominican Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena, Iraq, during a presentation.

Sister Clara was in Adrian during her first trip to the United States to visit Sister Raghad Saeed, OP, in Adrian for the summer during a break from her doctoral studies in nano- technology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Sister Raghad translated Sister Clara’s talk.

The Sisters – and thousands of other Christians and religious minorities – were forced out of their homes on the Nineveh Plain in 2014 when ISIS arrived. While living in northern Iraq, the Sisters ministered in the refugee community by establishing schools and clinics, and providing spiritual support and presence.

Sister Clara said she met with the General Council of her community many times to plan their return home, after it was liberated from ISIS. “It was difficult to make the decision because of the unstable condition in Nineveh,” she said. Ultimately, they decided to return to Qaraqosh and other cities in the area, where most of the Christians were returning. 

“Through all things, we are women of faith and hope, so the Sisters continue to accompany our Christian people in this area, to serve the people spiritually and morally, to live close to them and live with them in solidarity,” Sister Clara said. 

They found their homes, convents, and churches destroyed or severely damaged and are rebuilding their lives. “We needed to work, fix, and repair what ISIS destroyed and burned,” Sister Clara said. The rebuilding is taking place with the help of Christian humanitarian organizations and the Dominican family in the United States and Europe.

Members of the Adrian Dominican Sisters General Council pose with guests from Iraq. From left are Sisters Frances Nadolny, OP, Administrator and General Councilor; Patricia Harvat, OP, General Councilor; Clara Nas, OP, Prioress of the Dominican Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena, in Iraq; Patricia Siemen, OP, Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters; Mary Margaret Pachucki, OP, Vicaress and General Councilor; Elise García, OP, General Councilor; and Raghad Saeed, OP, of the Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena.

Because their convent was destroyed, the Sisters moved into a small house in the Kurdistan area and other small convents in the areas where they minister. Among other ministries, the Sisters opened a kindergarten in Erbil and a primary school in Ankara. They continue to minister in Baghdad – both in a hospital and in a school with an enrollment of 560 Christian and Muslim students.

To answer a question about what U.S. citizens should do in light of a possible war with Iran, Sister Clara asked that they write to government officials, encouraging them not to bomb Iran. Iraq would be in the middle of such a war. “We need a simple thing – to live in peace,” Sister Clara said. “Just leave us to live in peace and that is all that we need. We can help each other and we can build again, but we need a safe area – not a war zone.”

Sister Clara also asked the U.S. Dominican family and the people of the United States to pray for them. “Please continue to pray for us because we need that, and we are so grateful for your help, for your support, for your solidarity with us.”

As a tangible sign of their gratitude, Sister Clara presented the Adrian Dominican Sisters with an altar cloth, hand-sewn and embroidered by the Dominican Sisters from Iraq. The altar cloth was placed on the altar in St. Catherine Chapel for the Feast of Pentecost on Sunday, June 9, 2019.

Watch the entire video of Sister Clara’s presentation below.



Update from Sister Clara Nas, OP


 

 

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