Wilmette, Illinois – The Regina Dominican students who attended the Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference in Adrian in June 2015 signed a statement of support for the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, who had been displaced from their home in Mosul, Iraq, by ISIS. The statement included a promise to hold these Sisters in prayer and raise awareness of their situation.
The Dominican Preachers met in October with Beatrice Phelps, our campus minister, and Sister Mary Jean Williams, OP, our Director of Mission Integration, to plan how this promise would be lived out at Regina Dominican. In the context of the Dominican Pillar of study, a process and materials were designed to guide the teachers and students in their understanding and discussion of the displacement of the Iraqi Dominican Sisters.
During their week of study, the teachers and students viewed the video from the Adrian Dominican website on the plight of the Sisters in Iraq. They also saw the Fox News broadcast of Iraqi Dominican Sister Diana Momeka’s commentary on the exile and read the news article describing her plea before Congress to help the Iraqi Christians return to their homes by freeing the region from ISIS control. Sister’s request focused on assistance with a major rebuilding effort to restore roads, water, electricity, and buildings, including churches and monasteries.
This week of study led to the school community’s participation in the 1,000 Cranes Art Project, begun by the Adrian Dominican Sisters to support the Iraqi Dominican Sisters’ ministry with the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). One of the cranes painted by Sister Barbara Cervenka, OP, was purchased and hung outside the Regina Dominican Chapel. The story of Sadako Sasaki’s 1,000 Cranes for Peace provided the students with an understanding of the use of the crane as a symbol of peace.
Soon, many baskets were filled to overflowing as students folded colorful cranes in a spirit of remembrance and prayer. All of the cranes were strung together and are displayed on the wall outside of chapel, along with a reminder to continue praying for those displaced in Iraq and for world peace. The cranes were also used in the design of Regina Dominican’s 2015 Christmas card that proclaimed, “God is Peace!”