One nun's journey from Iraq to the US and the Catholic church

Mother Olga Yaqob (CNS/Georgia Bulletin/Michael Alexander)
Religious Life

Newton, Mass. — Mother Olga of the Sacred Heart bursts through the door, arms flung wide in anticipation of an embrace. "How brave of you to come," she says, hugging me as if I were her long-lost sister. Outside the convent window, a January blizzard whirls, and the nun, an Iraqi native, marvels that anyone would drive in such conditions.

Olga Yaqob, 48, is barely 5 feet tall, clad in a Marian blue habit. In her hands are rosary beads, which she fingers constantly. When she reaches up to tenderly clasp my head, I smell perfume.

Boston University used to call this popular nun "Blue Lightning," a reference to Yaqob's boundless yet intensely focused energy. After six years as a part-time campus minister, she became the university's Catholic chaplain in 2010, the second woman to ever hold that position. Today, she is founder and superior of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth, a fledgling community of women religious in the Boston archdiocese.

Full story available in the print and Kindle editions. Subscribe now.
This story appeared in the Feb 14-27, 2014 print issue under the headline: Consoling the heart of Jesus .

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg

Show comments

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.

Advertisement