Al Tamera Syriac Catholic Church in Qaraqosh burned and destroyed Courtesy of Fr Roni Momika CNA
Erbil, Iraq, Aug 9, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- After three years in exile from Iraq's Nineveh Plain while it was occupied by the Islamic State, the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena are returning to their homeland to face the daunting challenge of rebuilding their destroyed communities.
“Three years ago, we left our homes at night to the unknown. We started a journey of displacement, exile and questioning,” stated an Aug. 6 open letter from the Dominican Sisters in Erbil.
“Despite everything, we always dreamed of going back and finding our houses safe and sound, just as we left them. We strongly wished that we would return and kindle our candles for prayers, harvest our grapes, and read our books,” the letter continued.
In 2014, the Nineveh Plain was overtaken by the Islamic State, forcing tens of thousands into exile and displacement. The Nineveh Plain territory lies between the city of Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, and Iraqi Kurdistan.
In the fall of 2016, two years after the Islamic State claimed the Nineveh territory, Iraqi forces made significant military gains and liberated the Nineveh Plain. Many scattered families were able to return to their towns with hope for the future.
“God showered us with His graces as our towns were liberated, one after the other; ISIS was defeated and the Plain of Nineveh seems to have been liberated,” the Dominican Sisters wrote.