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March 24, 2016

For Immediate Release


Kerry’s Acknowledgement of ISIS’ Genocide Gives “Moral Weight” To Dominicans’ Call for Protection of Iraq’s Minorities, Expansion of Refugee Programs


A group of Dominican Sisters who work to promote justice recognized the value of Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement that ISIS is “Genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology and by actions, in what it says, what it believes, and what it does,” and that its genocidal intent includes Iraq’s Christians, Yezidis, and certain Muslim minorities.

Dominican Sisters have been committed to justice in Iraq since the days of UN economic sanctions imposed during the regime of Saddam Hussein in the 1990s.

“Secretary Kerry’s words give moral weight to our perennial call for increased protection for refugees, and the responsibility of the world community—including the US—to fund and staff refugee programs that will offer remedy to Iraq’s internally displaced persons and refugees in countries of first asylum,” said the Iraq Coordinating Committee (ICC), a function of the North American Dominicans’ Justice and Peace Promoter’s office. The ICC is headed by Springfield Dominican Sister Marcelline Koch, OP.

“US Dominicans are deeply connected to the Dominican Sisters, Brothers, and Laity in Iraq,” Sister Marcelline said. “Dozens of US Dominicans have participated in delegations in support of our Family in Iraq, whom we have come to know and respect for their faithfulness to the Gospel of peace and their unrelenting sacrifice and service to all people of Iraq through decades of war, violence, displacement, ethnic cleansing—and genocide.” Sister Marcelline was on the most recent delegation to Iraqi Kurdistan in January of last year, sent to assure the Dominican Family there and those they serve that they have not been forgotten.

Sr. Eileen Gannon, OP, a Dominican Sister of Sparkill, was a member of the first delegation to visit Iraq in 2001. "What remains with me from that visit is the sense among our Sisters, Brothers, and the people that they were forgotten and that no one cared about them," said Sister Eileen. "This feeling continues today, as the refugee crisis has spread beyond Iraq."

The Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, based now in Iraqi Kurdistan, serve thousands of Iraqis through the schools and health clinics they operate in IDP camps. The sisters themselves are displaced and welcome donations to continue their ministries.

How to Donate

Financial contributions to the Dominican Sisters in Iraq may be made through the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, MI or the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL.

Adrian Dominicans
Online: Click “Other” and designate “Iraq.”
By check: Mail check marked “Iraq” to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan 49221.

Springfield Dominicans
By check: Mail to Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL, Sacred Heart Convent, 1237 W. Monroe St., Springfield, IL 62704. Attn: Sister Kathleen Anne Tait.


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