07/18/2009, 00.00
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From the cloisters of India prayers for the Christians of Iraq

by Nirmala Carvalho
Sister Mary Joseph, a Carmelite in Mumbai, describes the feast of Our Lady of Mount Caramel. Coming from a family of devout Hindu Brahmin, the religious sister stresses the importance of dialogue between religions and regarding requests for the intercession of the Virgin says: "Even Muslims who recognize Mary should do it."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "When I received the news of bombings against churches in Iraq I intensified my prayer to Our Lady of Mount Caramel who is our patron. Even Muslims who recognize Mary should do it. " Sister Mary Joseph, by birth Radha Krishnan, has lived for over 30 years in the Monastery of the Cloistered Carmelite of Mumbai, at Andheri East (pictured). News of the outside world filters through to the nuns in the convent who pray to the Virgin to intercede on behalf of those who petition Her, for themselves, their loved ones or the sorrows of the world.

On July 13, the feast dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Caramel, Sister Mary recalled especially Iraqi Christians and the Holy Father, who has recently left for a period of rest in Valle d'Aosta (Northern Italy).

Speaking to AsiaNews the religious sister explains why she feels especially close to the community of Iraq. She herself comes from a family of Hindu devotees from the Iyer caste, the highest and most noble of the elite, and thus knows the value of dialogue between religions and the importance of peaceful coexistence between communities of different faiths. India also lives the pain of discrimination and violence against Christians in Orissa and so when the news of the attacks in Mosul arrived, on the day of the feast dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Caramel, she immediately "sought the intercession of the Virgin and St. Elias. "

"Interreligious dialogue is of fundamental importance for our society. In India - Sister Mary says - the relationship between Hindus and Christians is essential because it serves to deepen mutual understanding and to eliminate misunderstandings and erroneous opinions that exist towards Christianity. For us, engagement in dialogue is crucial to document our faith in Jesus and to see if we really listen to how the Spirit works in other religions. "  

What is true in India also applies to Iraq. The cloistered nun affirms: "Christianity and Islam are monotheistic religions that recognize Abraham as the father of the faith. The Holy Father is very interested in strengthening the dialogue between the two religions, but trust and reciprocity must prevail in our dialogue. "

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