We are displaced people; we wonder what is next

As we approach the first anniversary of our displacement, we look back and recall the past 12 months. We undertake this recollection to call to mind what the Lord has done for us, and how he accompanied us throughout the night of Aug. 6, 2014, as we were displaced with his people. Now, as IDPs, and with the rest of our people, we do face everyday challenges. We wonder how long this will last. Our hearts are filled with sadness and overwhelming grief. We wait but we get nothing; we think but do not understand.

Q & A with Sr. Martha Ann Kirk

Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, a sister of the Incarnate Word, has spent years on the road, researching pockets of tolerance in hostile parts of the Middle East. Her research has brought her to Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Israel and Palestine, as well as China and the halls of the United Nations. She is a professor of religious studies at the University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas, and a prolific author.

Help us 'go back home,' displaced Iraqi sister urges U.S. Congress

Speaking quietly and deliberately, Dominican Sr. Diana Momeka from Iraq urged a congressional committee hearing May 13 to help the displaced Christian refugees in Iraq to "go back home." "We want nothing more than to go back to our lives; we want nothing more than to go home," Momeka, a Dominican Sister of St. Catherine of Siena of Mosul, Iraq, told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. During the hearing: "Ancient Communities Under Attack: ISIS's War on Religious Minorities," Momeka was one of four women who spoke of the urgent need to not only help and protect religious minorities but also to preserve and save religious sites.

Unchosen itinerancy: Displaced persons and the tentativeness of life

Numbers can be numbing. There are an estimated 16.7 million refugees in the world. As I think of their experience and of visiting with some of the internally displaced people of Iraq, I am reminded of one of the characteristics that St. Dominic made a part of Dominican life – that of itinerancy, traveling from place to place. For me as a Dominican, I choose it. I choose the stance in life that allows me to be sent, to be on the move as needed by the mission. Itinerancy is a necessary partner to mission. While it is natural to “settle in,” I know that too much settling in, physically or mentally, can block the reign of God from being realized.

Friendship forged in conflict

In 1998 Fr. Timothy Radcliffe was Master of the Dominican Order and the people of Iraq were experiencing the burden of U.S. sanctions. Radcliffe, informing us we had “family” in Iraq, asked how we might be sister and brother to our family in the Middle East. It had never dawned on me that there were Dominicans in Iraq. We have discovered and are discovering that relationships call us out of ourselves and into the lives of one another on a profoundly personal and enriching basis. Our sisterhood connects us and provides the courage to strengthen the bonds of friendship and love that will last our lifetimes.