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About the Project
This site is the project of a group of Adrian Dominican artists creating work to support the ministerial efforts of the Adrian Dominican Sisters on behalf of the exiled Iraqi people driven from their homes by ISIS.
On August 6, 2014, the fighters of the Islamic State expelled hundreds of thousands of Christians, Yazidis, Kurds and even Muslims from Mosul and the north of Iraq. The refugees were forced to flee with nothing, with no means of livelihood and even their human dignity.
They lived in exile in the Kurdish territory, without safe shelter, adequate nutrition, potable water or basic health care, for three years. Our Iraqi Dominican Sisters, themselves displaced and without home or possessions, tried to support and care for their fellow exiles.
In 2017, the Iraqi Dominican Sisters, along with other displaced Iraqis, began to return to parts of Iraq that had been liberated from ISIS. They returned to complete destruction; most churches, the convent, and many homes and businesses had been completely destroyed and burned by ISIS. Over the past two years, the Sisters have worked with charitable organizations and Iraqi citizens to rebuild. Below, Sister Clara Nas, OP, Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Iraq, and Sister Raghad Saeed, OP, provide an update on their progress from a presentation on May 28, 2019.
The Story of 1,000 Cranes
The ancient Japanese tradition of senbazuru promises that a person who folds 1000 cranes will be granted a wish, such as long life or recovery from illness.
In our time, the tradition of the thousand cranes was rekindled through the story of Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl from Hiroshima. Sadako was two when she was exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb, and only twelve when she developed leukemia. She learned about the ancient story of the cranes, and began folding them, praying for health and world peace. Sadako died before she could finish 1,000 cranes, but her classmates, in honor of her life and efforts, finished the project. Sadako was buried with 1,000 cranes.
A statue of Sadako in the Peace Park in Hiroshima bears the inscription:
“This is our cry, this is our prayer, peace in the world.”
1,000 Cranes in an Iraq Bomb Shelter
Before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, when the Iraqi people were suffering the effects of years of severe economic sanctions, US Dominicans organized Voices for Veritas as a response. Three delegations of Dominicans visited Iraq in successive summers from 1999 to 2001, as a witness of our solidarity with our Iraqi Dominican family and the people of Iraq. Visiting a bomb shelter in Baghdad, the Sisters and Friars were deeply touched to see a festoon of 1,000 multicolored origami cranes — a powerful and poignant symbol of the Iraqi peoples’ prayer for peace.