Current Issue
March, 2018
Volume 44, Number 1
25 August 2016
Greg Kandra

Sister Nahla Francis serves as a nurse at the Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan.
(photo: Philip Toscano-Heighton)

Some of the heroes in CNEWA’s world have worked to help heal the world.

Sister Nahla Francis, of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, served as a nurse in Mosul, treating the wounded of the Iraq war from 2002-2004. More recently, she served in Jordan, at Zerqa’s Mother of Mercy Clinic. Nicholas Seeley wrote about the clinic in ONE magazine in 2013 and interviewed Sister Nahla, who spoke about being a bridge between different faiths while also serving as a nurse:

ONE: What’s the most difficult thing about this kind of work?

SNF: When patients ask you to help them in certain things, and you cannot do it. Sometimes they have no money, but they need expensive medicine. We cannot always help them — this is the most difficult thing — or when the doctors tell an expectant mother to take a certain test, and she has no money to do it. It is so painful.

ONE: And what is the best part of a day? What gives you the most satisfaction?

SNF: The best thing? When you see a smile on a patient’s face — when she tells you, “I feel I’m at home here.” You know? So important! Or when women from far away come here, just to receive a shot, or something simple. I will ask them: “Why should you come here? Don’t you have a clinic there?” And they will say: “No, no. Here, I feel relaxed, I feel peaceful.” That is so important for us.

ONE: And you treat people of all different faiths?

SNF: We don’t ask them. Our mission here is for everyone. If you go to a hospital, sometimes they will include “religion” in your file. We don’t have that kind of stuff here — just the name and the age and what we need to know.

ONE: What do you think people in America should know about the situation here?

SNF: I was in America and I know, as a people, they are very kind and sensitive to others. But maybe they need to know we have different cultures. Different thinking, we can say. We are here, living with different faiths, like Muslim, Christian, whatever. But we are here as one family.

ONE: If you could say something to people in America about the situation of refugees, what would you say to them?

SNF: It is a difficult question. I have something in my heart, but I don’t know how to say it, even in Arabic.

[Sister Nahla pauses, then adds:] Let us live in peace, please. Let us live in peace, because we need it.

Indeed, we do. And we are grateful for the heroic efforts of people such as Sister Nahla who are trying to bring healing and peace to a world wounded by war.