Ottawa’s Catholic Cemetery Helps Syrian Refugees

Living in a Multi-Faith Community

We live in a multi-faith community. We co-exist rather harmoniously alongside each other, with few incidents of intolerance. However, we are not immune to bigotry or prejudice. It exists in our daily lives through social media, the news and maybe even among family or friends. Reports of hate speech, acts of violence and division all in the name of faith or condemnation are sadly regular occurrences. In a time where we struggle to see the good, it is important to recognize the good when we see it; to highlight and praise the people that bring light to a dark situation.

New Life for Syrian Refugees

Months ago, the media and the public were discussing and taking strong stances about the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Over time, neighbours demonstrated our friendly nature in a truly Canadian way to make these new families feel welcome in their new home. These Syrian families started new lives, new goals, new accomplishments, and new struggles. One family arrived in February along with their two daughters that were severely ill. They had spent a lot of time in the Children’s Hospital receiving much-needed treatment. Throughout their time at the hospital, the two girls contracted respiratory infections. Within a short period of time, the young sisters died within a day of one another. Saddened and heart-wrenched by the news, the Muslim Community and the family’s sponsors surrounded the family with support and caring.

Friends and Funeral Industry Come Together

A member of the Basic Funerals team heard of this family’s story from a friend that wished to purchase monuments for these beautiful children. Using our resources, we connected the administration at Hope Cemetery, one of the cemeteries owned and operated by the Catholic Archdiocese, with the Syrian Family’s sponsors directly. In an act of kindness, the staff at Hope Cemetery arranged for the monuments with the requested inscriptions from the Q’uran. Without the need for acknowledgement, without the need for reimbursement, Hope Cemetery donated the monuments to the family and their beloved daughters. These monuments will be placed at the Muslim Cemetery in Ottawa. The families and staff involved were so taken aback and impressed by the lack of hesitation of a Catholic Cemetery to help a family from the Muslim Community that we wanted to share the story. In a business where the nature of grief and the procedures concerning the handling of death are often so dictated by faith and culture, it was a true privilege to witness the division of faith cast aside in order to help one another. Embracing the bottom line of what it means to be good, helping one another out, servicing our communities is what the funeral industry is fundamentally about.