Sister Maryanne Pierre, O.P.
Despite years of war and hardship, Sister Maryanne Pierre has helped to keep Baghdad’s St. Raphael’s Hospital open to those who need medical care. The Dominican sister, 58, was recently named a CNN “Hero of War,” a group of people the news network recognizes for their “feats of courage, nobility of purpose, or life-risking situations” to “avert conflict, save lives, or otherwise achieve an extraordinary mission.”
Sister Pierre was born in Iraq and was attracted to the Dominican sisters, who had established a community in Baghdad in 1873. After studying in France and the United States, Pierre returned to the Iraqi capital to work at St. Raphael’s.
In addition to treating sick and injured people during the Iraq war, St. Raphael’s, one of the few hospitals to remain open during the fighting, also had to deal with a large number of premature childbirths. “The fear caused many women to have premature births, Sister Pierre said. “Three hundred and fifty babies were born in two weeks.” Falling bombs and looters did not deter Pierre and the hospital staff from keeping the facility open. Most recently she went into the streets and asked U.S. Marines to guard the hospital.
“This is my job to stay here to help people,” she said. “Even during the first Gulf War we stayed. It’s our duty to stay here for all the people.”
What do you think of Sr. Pierre's work? Do you find it inspiring? Frightening? Both?