We Have Family in Iraq: Letters from Dominican Sisters in Iraq during ISIS offensive, 2014

It has been just over a year since ISIS took hold of Mosul, Iraq and surrounding cities, forcing thousands, including The Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena – Iraq, to flee to neighboring cities.  In a series of letters to the greater Dominican family, Sister Maria Hanna, O.P. describes the fighting, the exodus, ISIS’s takeover of the convents, the plight of the refugees, and the conditions in the displaced persons camps one year later.

You can read the letters in Constellation, our online repository of scholarship.  They were first published online by Sinsinawa Dominicans, Inc.  We present them as a reminder of the hardships the Sisters, Christians, other minorities, and all Iraqi citizens endured during the ISIS offensive, as a celebration of the charity and love shown by the Sisters, and as a call to always keep our Sisters and those they serve in our thoughts.

Below are excerpts from the letters, and a movie of the Sisters talking about the ISIS takeover.

“Some parts of Iraq are controlled by the government and others are not. We are – like the rest of our people – unable to understand what is really happening. But we know for sure that this situation is not leading to any common good. There are many political groups and sects, however peace and prosperity of the country as a whole is not in their agenda.”   June 23, 2014, as ISIS began its offensive

“Our exodus started at 11:30 pm, and before that we decided to pray and have the Holy Communion so that if the ISIS entered the house, it will not be defiled. But on the last minute, we decided to leave one piece in the tabernacle praying it will protect the house and the town.
When we arrived to the intersession of Mosul-Erbil, we were shocked to see a huge mess of cars driving very chaotically to Erbil. The view was beyond describing, as words cannot fully capture it. Men, pregnant women, children, handicaps and elderly were moving toward Erbil. There were Christians, Muslims Shiites, Yezeds and Shabak; some people were on foot, some were riding trunks of pick-up, lorry trunks, and motorcycles.”  August 8, 2014, as the Sisters were forced to flee to Erbil

“Despite the loss and pain our community is experiencing, we rejoice in the reality that our sisters have decisively chosen to live life, never letting despair extinguish the light within them, and in the midst of overwhelming hardship, two sisters renewed their vows yesterday evening and two postulants received the habit, becoming novices.
It was a day where the contradictions of life and death converged; we witnessed simultaneously death and resurrection. This was a sign of hope and God’s presence among us, and it gave us courage to continue our journey with our people who are still displaced, weakened, and impoverished.”  September 9, 2014, as the Sisters were reunited in Erbil and Ankawa

Constellation Is Back and It’s Better

, Dominican’s online repository of scholarship, is back.  And, it’s better.  Though it never really went away, it has received a facelift, has more functionality and includes many new items.  The previous instance of Constellation has been decommissioned and all content migrated.

New items include the masters’ theses from students who, in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, studied at Villa Schifanoia, an Italian estate, and publications on the history of the Dominican order from the Mary Nona McGreal OP Center for Dominican Historical Studies.

Constellation is still a consortial repository, allowing Dominican to partner with other institutions in LIBRAS to share knowledge and resources and ensure that the great research done at our liberal arts schools is preserved and shared.

This revitalization of Constellation comes in conjunction with a change in title and responsibilities for me.  I am now the Scholarly Communication and Digital Initiatives Librarian and will devote most of my time to Constellation and other online collections, and to working with faculty, students and staff on publishing, copyright and open access.

Look for more posts about the repository and scholarly communication, and feel free to ask me any questions:
Caroline Sietmann

What is the song of Summer 2015

As the summer is winding down, many new songs have entered into the scene and some have gained massive popularity.  Each year, there is that one song that defines the summer.  In 1992, it was Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back and 1998, Brandy and Monica collaborated to bring the massively successful hit, The Boy Is Mine.  The first summer in the new millennium brought music lovers Bent by Matchbox Twenty.  And, perhaps one of the most important summers in recent memory, Summer 2003 introduced the world to Beyonce Knowles as a solo artist with her hit, Crazy In Love. As summer 2015 comes to a close, we’d love to hear what everyone thinks the summer song for 2015 should be.

Crown Cinemas

Microwave that popcorn because the Rebecca Crown Library is showing some of the massively successful summer blockbusters in the current display.  Ranging from Finding Nemo to Batman Begins and from Jaws to Saving Private Ryan. Relive previous summers with some of these summer released films.  Or enjoy some modern films that you may have not had a chance to see in theaters.

Rebecca Crown Library Summer Hours

For your convenience, Dominican’s Rebecca Crown Library is open this summer. The hours listed below are in effect until the beginning of the 2015 school year, with the exception of July 3rd and July 4th, when the library will be closed for Independence Day.

Library Building

Sunday-Thursday: 8:00am – 10:00pm

Friday-Saturday: 8:00am – 8:00pm

Media Center

Monday-Friday: 8:00am – 4:00pm

Noonan Reading Room (Quiet Study)

24 hours a day, seven days a week

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/la_fb/8537791145

Throwback to the Classics

Summer is a time for fun, sun, and most importantly, finding a song to define the season.  The Rebecca Crown Library is showing off some older but classic material.  Come take a look through some of our more popular CDs ranging from The Lion King to Carmen. There are also DVDs including The Sound of Music, Standing in the Shadows of Motown, and American Folk Blues Festival. For the history buffs, we also have books covering Hip-Hop, Rock, and Pop Music.   Further more, look at the different vinyl cover art and covers on the sheet music to see how art has changed through the years in the display cabinet.

De-stress with Therapy Dogs

Towards the end of the year many students bare the burden of important due dates, final exams, and stress. This afternoon, Tuesday, April 28th, Therapy Dogs will be visiting the library on the first floor in Crown  111 from 3:00-4:00. This event is in place to help you take a break and de-stress. Come hang out with the dogs and take a break from studying!


Photo credit:https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7426/16496854146_35302110a2_o_d.jpg

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