Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

January 9, 2010

What I've Been Doing This New Year

Well, the year has already proved to be a crazy and busy one! I guess I should have figured that since my wedding is getting so close. Aside from lots of family time, many stresses from UPS about my wedding gifts (I recommend you DO NOT use them if you have a choice), I've been trying to help Iraqi Christian refugee families who have relocated to my city get settled and start to feel at home. My sisters, you have no idea of the depth of suffering that they have been through and are going through.

Although I'm certainly no expert on Iraq, but I do know a little bit about the Arab world and its culture. These people are a beautiful and proud people. Not proud in a bad way. But proud of who they are as a people. And they should be! Do you know that Iraqi Christian community is one of the oldest in the world? Do you know that the Magi, the priests of Zoroaster, are said to have come from Iraq? And now, well now, they've been so persecuted, attacked, and de-humanized by their compatriots because they are not Muslim. One young woman told me that an American Muslim woman told her that when she came to the US, she should convert and where the hijab. Probably not the best thing you want to tell someone who just got ran out of her country because she would not become Muslim. With a look of utter sadness, another young woman said to me, "There really is no freedom for us [Christians]. They will kill you. They will kill you."

I just cannot describe to you the sorrow that took hold of me yesterday as Peter and I went to visit the families. One family is a mother and father and three young sons. The father is struggling to find work, and the rest of them are struggling to learn English. The other family is three siblings - two sisters, one brother. They are well educated and rich in their own land, but here, they have nothing and finding jobs seems almost impossible. Their parents and another brother are stuck in Syria, unable to join them here in the US. No one quite knows why their case is getting rejected. I know too well the pain they feel in being in such a strange land, without even the comfort of their own language being spoken in the streets. But I cannot imagine how horrible it must be, to be so persecuted by your own neighbors for your faith. I believe they are God's holy ones. Oh pray for them!


La Italiana said...

What beautiful work you are doing...greeting them at a vulnerable time in their lives. I can only think that you are modeling Mary and Elizabeth at the Visitation. I will pray for the ease of their suffering and your continued strength. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Margaret Perry said...

oh my word! i'll pray for them, edith!

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