Sister Olga From Iraq

You have to read this interview with Sr. Olga of the Eucharist Yaqob. She's an Iraqi, raised in the Assyrian Church, and the story of her conversion --and what it cost her-- is extraordinary. During a long nebulous period between being disowned by her family and not receiving permission to become Catholic, she created her own apostolate ministering to prisoners in Abu Ghraib.
Between 1993 and 2000 I ministered to the homeless and the 12,000 prisoners of Abu Ghraib, including the political prisoners.
I was given permission to enter Abu Ghraib to provide food and medicine. The prisoners didn’t have running water, slept on the cement floor, and a large number of people were crowded together in each cell. In the heat, these poor conditions caused people to get sick with skin diseases and emphysema.
The most painful experience was to accompany those sent to death and to be with them during their last months. I felt like Mary standing at the foot of the cross, watching the death of her son.
I couldn’t save them. I wasn’t there as a lawyer; I was only there to bring food and medication. I wasn’t there in a religious capacity, though I was allowed to bring the Eucharist at Christmas, Easter and on solemnities. Throughout the years of my service in the prison, Jesus’ question to the sons of Zebedee, James and John — “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” — pierced my heart. During that time, I felt called to declare my personal answer to Jesus’ question. This answer has radically changed my life. Serving the homeless, prisoners and the poorest of the poor in my homeland, war has been my way of “drinking the cup” of sorrow with and for my people in Iraq.
RTWT --it's an amazing, circuitous story. I had the opportunity to meet her over the summer, just briefly. She's a tiny little thing, no taller than my 11-yr-old daughter-- but a powerhouse. She absolutely radiates a joy and peace you cannot imagine --and in a million years you would never guess what she has seen.