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ICC Note:

Qaraqosh, a predominantly Christian town located in Northern Iraq, was found devastated when Iraqi forces retook the city from ISIS in 2016. Nearly a year later, the Religious Sisters in Iraq have announced that they will return to Qaraqosh with the intention of rebuilding their convent. They hope that their arrival will encourage other families to consider returning, and that they can provide spiritual nourishment to those Christians who have already returned but have found their homes destroyed. 

09/05/2017 Iraq (Independent Catholic News) – Religious Sisters in Iraq have set out plans to return to a key town in the ancient Nineveh Plains where they hope to provide help and healing for thousands of Christian families returning there. Sister Clara Nas, Prioress General of the badly damaged Immaculate Mary (Al-Um Al-Tahira) Convent in Qaraqosh, a large Christian town in Nineveh, spoke to Aid to the Church in Need about the importance of maintaining the Christian community in Iraq. Seeking to help Christians in towns and villages across Nineveh, she said: “We have decided to return to our towns.”

The Dominican Sister of St Catherine of Siena added: “We trust that our presence in the area would encourage the Christians to return to their land and nourish the Christian presence in Iraq.”

Despite 30 percent of Qaraqosh being destroyed by Daesh’s (ISIS) genocidal violence, the Sisters estimate that about 1,050 families returned to the town last month (August). In total, nearly 13,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by Daesh during their 27-month occupation of Nineveh.

Aid to the Church in Need is repairing many such homes and has also given funds to help the Sisters to rebuild their convent in Qaraqosh.

With schools across the region preparing to open in mid-September, Sister Nas said: “We have chosen this convent because of its location – it is close to the church, the priests’ house, the policemen’s residency and the primary school that belongs to our congregation.”

The Sister explained that she intends to send members of her congregation to the rebuilt convent as and when security and basic living needs are met. Sister Nas added: “We want to rebuild our convent and return home.”

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