Catholic Women of the Year named

 Dr Suha Rassam, founder of the charity Iraqi Christians in Need (ICIN) was named one of the four Catholic Women of the Year at a reception in London on Friday, in the presence of the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Faustino Munoz.

The other women awarded were: Sister Ann-Teresa who runs the Medaille Trust' Julia Houlston Clark, a Catholic prison worker and probation officer Diana Sanderson.

Dr Rassam, author of the book 'Christianity in Iraq' set up ICIN last year with a group of fellow Iraqis, to provide financial and spiritual support to Iraqi Christians both in Iraq and in countries such as Syria and Jordan, where many are now refugees.

Earlier this year, she visited Iraqi refugee families in Syria to assess how best ICIN could help them. In Aleppo, she met with Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo of the Chaldean Catholic Church and Bishop Yuhanna Ibrahim of the Syrian Orthodox Church.

Originally from Mosul in northern Iraq, Dr Rassam qualified as a doctor and later was appointed assistant professor of medicine at the University of Baghdad. She came to the UK in the 1990 and worked at various hospitals in London until retiring in 2005.

Sister Ann-Teresa runs the Medaille Trust, which organises homes and rehabilitation for victims of the sex-trafficking industry.

Diana Sanderson was born with spina bifida and her parents were told she would be "a cabbage". But with surgery and good parental care she went on to lead a full life, attending school and then Manchester University, having a career in the probation service working in various prisons. She is active with a number of good causes ranging from the pro-life movement to support for the bereaved.

Julkia Houlston Clark is a Catholic prison worker at HM prison Cardfiff. She runs the SORI (Supporting Offenders through Restoration Inside) scheme in Cardiff, designed to help make prisoners aware of their victims and of the effects of crime. She was nominated by Anglican chaplains at the prison with whom she works closely.

The guest speaker at the luncheon was Fr Aidan Nicholls, the noted Dominican author.

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