Rose Basada, a Columban lay missionary who is a volunteer at St. Chad’s Sanctuary, pays tribute to an Iraqi asylum seeker, who died suddenly in December 2012.
I met this wonderful Iraqi woman about a year ago. Her name was Reem and she was an asylum seeker. She had a good job in Iraq but because of her Christian faith she feared for her life. A number of her colleagues lost their lives, so she decided to flee to Britain. Reem was a refused asylum seeker and came regularly to the Sanctuary.
Everybody who knew her, found her to be a wonderful woman because – along with being talented, skilful, approachable and friendly – she was welcoming, big hearted, with a lovely sense of humour and a wonderful spirit of generosity. She was a very good friend and a real inspiration to me in my missionary work. She opened me up to many new experiences which have enriched my missionary work here in Britain, and which I otherwise would not have had the confidence to do on my own. I miss her reassuring and encouraging presence very much. She believed in me and helped me to believe in myself and in my abilities and talents.
I visited her while she was in detention and even though she was sad and downhearted she still didn’t lose hope in her dream of being granted permission to stay and work in Britain. It hurt her enormously that she could not work for her livelihood. She was a very determined woman with a strong sense of justice and a strong faith.
Everyone was shocked by the news of her unexpected death in hospital before Christmas. Her family could not visit her while in the hospital so she died alone. She is forever in my thoughts and prayers. RIP Reem.