A Novena in Solidarity with our Sisters and Brothers in Iraq


On the night of August 6, 2014, Daesch (ISIS) swept across the Nineveh Plain of northern Iraq causing hundreds of thousands to flee to relative safety in the Kurdish area. Our own Dominican Family was included in this exodus. Since then they have not only had to deal with the trauma of this unfolding event, but also have come to the physical and spiritual aid of the many internally displaced persons with whom they live. The Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) and other agencies have witnessed the many ways our Dominican sisters and brother assist those who would otherwise lose hope.

To remember that event in solidarity with our family in Iraq, we share this novena. The global Dominican Family will pray this together July 29-August 6. Please pray with us and share this with your friends and family. Versions in Spanish, French and Italian are available below.

Here you can read a letter of solidarity recently sent by the Iraq Coordinating Committee to the Dominicans in Baghdad. The July 3, 2016 bombing there decimated a shopping district in a neighborhood that includes Dominican-sponsored hospitals, a girls’ high school, and the homes of the Dominican Sisters and Friars as well as a small community of the Missionaries of Charity. As many as 300 people were killed and more than 200 were injured. None of the Dominicans or Mother Theresa’s sisters were among the dead or injured.

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A Letter to Our Dominican Family in Baghdad

On July 3, 2016 a car bomb attack in a busy Baghdad market decimated a shopping area in the neighborhood where many of our Iraqi Dominican sisters and brothers live and work. The Dominicans in the United States sent this letter to express our care and concern.

Please continue to pray with us for safety, stability and peace in Iraq.


July 2015

Dear Dominican Sisters and Brothers in Baghdad and throughout Iraq:

The Dominican Family in the USA wants to assure you that we hold all of our Iraqi sisters and brothers in our prayers, especially in these days following the terrible car bombings in the Karrada and Shaab neighborhoods in Baghdad.

We know that St. Raphael’s Hospital, run by the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation, is in the vicinity where these horrible acts of hatred were carried out and that the ministries and homes of the friars and the St. Catherine of Siena sisters are not too far away.  Our hearts weep with all who have lost loved ones in yet another act of incredible and senseless violence. We worry that perhaps some of you may have lost friends in that bombing.

As you may know, the Dominican Family around the world will join hands to pray a novena in solidarity with all of you.  From July 29-August 6 we will unite spiritually with you as we remember the second anniversary of the exodus from Nineveh Plain.

Through this novena we want to say again to the world that “Peace is possible.”  Let us once again place our trust and hope in Christ, the Prince of Peace. We pray that you will know that you do not walk this path of suffering alone.  Following in the footsteps of Jesus, and united with with St. Dominic, St. Catherine of Siena and all of our Dominican saints, we cry out with one voice: “Let there be peace.”

Speaking to the Sant’Egidio Community in Rome, Pope Francis reminded us that, “The courage of peace gives the courage of hope…to all those who suffer because of war.”  Let us help each other to put this hope and peace into practice each and every day.

Your sisters and brothers of the Dominican Family in North America



Go to my Brothers and Sisters and Preach!

Hermana Mila Diaz, a doctoral candidate at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem, visiting Petra, Jordan.

Mary Magdalene and the Preaching of Dominican Women

Hermana Mila Diaz Solano, OP, wrote this for the Summer 2012 issue of JUST Words, the sixth year of a 10-year observance of the 800th jubilee of the Order of Preachers that ends in January 2017. 2012 was dedicated to the theme Dominican Women and Preaching.

We thought it appropriate to share Sister Mila’s words again today, the first annual observance of the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles, declared by Pope Francis. In previous years her feast day was considered a memorial, a lesser celebration according to the church’s liturgical norms. 

The commemoration of the 800 year’s foundation of the Order especially this year, dedicated to “Dominican Women and Preaching,” offers us the opportunity to remember how Jesus sent Mary Magdalene, and with her, each of us, as women preachers. It is also a promising time, challenging us to continual fulfillment of this mission. And, of course, it is a time of grace to rejoice in God’s faithfulness and trust in us.

The Risen One Urges: Go!

In her encounter with the Risen One, Mary—the disciple from Magdala—is challenged to begin a journey. She has to move with and toward a clear purpose. This meant taking the risk of being ignored and/or being taken as a foolish woman. It required boldness in overcoming the formalities of the time about witnessing, and called for conquering, once again, her own demons that held her in mourning.

With her, we, as women preachers, are sent over and over again to begin anew with an updated and meaningful mission and vision; to risk our security because of the ministerial choices we make or the stances we take—as bearers of the resurrection experience—in the face of signs of death that surround us; to let go of our comforts; and to liberate ourselves from scruples and formalism that bind our creativity and freedom.

The imperative used by the Gospel writer John highlights continuity and persistence. As in the case of Mary, our first departure may have been eager, exciting, and energetic, but to continue pursuing the goal requires perseverance to deal with the obstacles. Our elder sisters are a living preaching of this.

…To the community!

Mary Magdalene, a member of a community, was sent to her brothers and sisters—to the community. With her, as women preachers, we also are sent to preach from a particular community speaking and acting as community, for love of the community, and on behalf of the community’s growth. We have each other today to challenge us on our journey. Do we let ourselves be moved? Do we allow our sisters and community members in our ministries to shake us up and return us to the path? It is in the community where the Magdalene is called to experience the Risen One from now on. Through the experience of otherness, the embrace of diversity, and teamwork, we are formed as preachers and we experience the New Creation- Resurrection.

…And Tell!

The mission of Mary confronted silence. Like her, we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of silence in the face of creation’s suffering. It would be complicity with death.

But what do we have to communicate? Ideas? Concepts? Intellectual brilliance? Above all, we must speak of our deep experience of God in our midst.

As did the Magdalene, so also Catherine of Siena and Rose of Lima made their voices heard. Out of love, they even questioned and denounced the lack of faithfulness of their brothers and sisters when needed.

The Risen One entrusts us: “Dominican Women, go to my brothers and sisters and preach!”

Today, we are moved by our particular way of speaking to God. Our way of speaking of God is made concrete in sustainable living, in the struggle for defending, restoring, and caring for all creation; in the constant giving birth to hope; in nurturing and seasoning the Church with our diversity; in creating spaces for encounter and feast; and in being intentionally pregnant with Resurrection. We must rejoice and celebrate because these gifts are growing in our everyday lives.

The closure of some pulpits did not detain the Word and it cannot stop the Word now. The Risen One entrusts us: “Dominican Women, go to my brothers and sisters and preach!”

Hermana Mila is a doctoral candidate at the École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jerusalem, a Dominican institute.

Video: Springfield Dominicans Support Nuns on the Bus

MKochSCambell_7-12-16.Title-StillSister Marcelline Koch, OP and Sister Simone Campbell, SSS have a Mend the Gaps Q & A session late in the evening Tuesday, July 12, 2016 on the road with between Bloomington-Normal, Ill. and Springfield, Ill. They discussed two major questions:

Q: Why do Catholic Sisters care about issues like income quality, the undocumented population, and access to healthcare?

Q: How can we challenge our government leaders to take care of the poor and protect the most valuable as individuals or as voters?

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Nuns on the Bus at the Illinois State Capitol

Nuns on the Bus at the Illinois State Capitol on Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The  Nuns on the Bus stopped by Sacred Heart Convent, Springfield, Illinois and received the Dominican Blessing from the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL.  The Nuns traveled to the Illinois State Capitol to for a rally in front of the Abraham Lincoln statue to hear stories about people from Illinois that suffer from income inequality and serious social justice issues that separate the voiceless from the powerful in our political process. A sudden rainstorm interrupted the rally, but didn’t dampen the spirits of the crowd. The Sisters on the bus will take all the stories and share the stories with political leaders and voters to show there are more and more people committing to mends the gaps between income, access to healthcare, and everything that divides us in our current political environment.


Pope Francis Blesses Dominican Order