Our Lady of the Camps

From 6 to 10 November 2015 the General Promoter of the Rosary went to Iraqi Kurdistan. It was of course the occasion to open the Jubilee of the 800 years of the foundation of the Order of Preachers, but also the possibility to visit our Christian brothers sorely tested by the recent political events in Iraq and the Near East.

Tens of thousands of Christians have had to flee the abuses of Islamic State. In a single night they lost everything: their house, possessions and the land on which they have lived for millennia. Since then they are crammed into the camps. The brothers and sisters of our Order carry out an exemplary job over there.

In a refugee camp at Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan

I was able to visit several refugee camps. Two camps made up of mobile homes, where thousands of families are crammed in. Two others in buildings where partitions have been added so families have a semblance of privacy.

Everywhere, the same dignity, the concern for each other, the same sadness, too. Difficult to not speak of a certain anxiety: the front line is only 25km away and the situation is really so precarious. And especially, at each instant, the joy of receiving visitors with that very oriental hospitality!

In Father Emmanuel’s office, Ashti Camp, Erbil, Iraq

And then, a divine surprise, at the entrance to a camp, in the office of the priest who watches over his flock with concern, a poster of Our Lady of the Rosary! She it is we find at the heart of exile and instability. She watches over her children!

Yes, a divine surprise, just like Our Lady knows how to give us!

Our Lady of the Rosary… Our Lady of the Camps!


Fr. Louis-Marie ARIÑO-DURAND, OP
General Promoter of the Rosary