Category Archives: James Foley

Salem Matti Kourk: Hated and Murdered by ISIS; Loved by God and God's Mom

IT  MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

I guess there is nothing like the  shocking beheading of a live, innocent, helpless person by gutless, yellow-bellied devil lovers dressed in black pajamas to garner world attention.  The high-profile, barbaric murders of James Foley and Steven Sotloff  have done just that.  Their murders have been emblazoned across the print headlines and media air waves giving Satan’s favorite “crew”, ISIS, the publicity it sought.

James Foley and Steven Sotloff have been introduced to all of us as individuals.  We saw their photos, we learned about their background and their families.  They could have been any one of us.  It became personal for us and we can feel some of the horror and pain these young men must have felt as death approached them.  Yet so many thousands have been murdered in this modern day genocide. We recoil at the numbers but the individuality of all those executed evades us. The Holocaust claiming six million Jews is not the same as hearing the story of Anne Frank or Maximilian Kolbe.

Anne was a youngster we could relate to because, like all of us, she had a name, a family, siblings, a home, ambitions and desires.  Plus, she left behind that most famous diary.  We can identify with her because she was not just a statistic, she was a real person, the same as James Foley and Steven Sotloff.   Maximilian Kolbe was a Catholic priest who offered his own life so that  a Jewish husband and father might live.  His request was granted and the Nazis starved him to death. We can be inspired by the courage and selflessness of such individual acts of brotherly love.  Maximilian Kolbe was canonized a saint  on October 10, 1982 by Pope John Paul II.  And only last April, Father Frans Van der Lugt, a Catholic priest who had worked in Syria for 50 years, was dragged from his church by agents of ISIS.  They beat him unmercifully and then shot him in the head twice.  Father Van der Lugt was 75 years old.  Three died because of their love of God and two died because they were Americans.

There are so many thousands that have been brutally executed by the ISIS maniacs. So many whose names we shall never know or hear.  So many who were brutally tortured and murdered because of their Christian faith.  So here is one of those with a name, a person we can identify with.  He was not famous or well known.  He was, for the most part, just like the rest of us, unknown.  His name was Salem Matti Kourk.  He was 43 years old and was an Orthodox Christian.

In early August, the Islamist State “Christian haters”, aka ISIS or ISIL,  had taken control of Mosul,  the second largest city in Iraq.  Thirteen miles east of Mosul is the town of Bartella.  ISIS had also secured that town.  We  are well aware of how Mosul, the oldest Christian city in the world, has been overrun and how the city’s ancient churches were destroyed while almost the entire Christian population had either fled or been killed.  Over in Bartella similar atrocities were taking place.  Salem Matti Kourk, a Syrian Christian, had a heart condition.  He could not flee with his family and friends because of his disability.  So they stockpiled food and drink and other supplies for him and he remained behind, hiding out in an abandoned apartment.  The days came and went.

Three weeks later the food and water had run out.  Salem became a bit desperate and eventually decided to leave his hiding place in search of food and water.  Sick and weakened, he did not get far.  ISIS “swine” discovered him near the Church of the Virgin Mary.  They demanded he renounce Christianity and accept Islam.  They screamed at him and kicked him and bludgeoned him with clubs and rifle butts. The kept at it until Salem’s battered body could not withstand anymore.

Salem gave up his spirit and his body rolled over dead.   The Satan “lovers” left him in front of the church and walked away laughing.  Salem Matti Kourk had died a martyr’s death.  He was alone, terrified, and surrounded by thugs that hated him.  Yet, through it all,  he refused to renounce his belief in Jesus.  But maybe, just maybe, he was not alone.

I like to think that being in front of the Church of the Virgin Mary, our dearest Mother stood nearby waiting for him.  I like to think he saw her waiting.  I have a profound feeling Salem walked away from that place with his Mother’s arm around his shoulder.  I can see her leaning over and kissing his battered forehead.  Salem was smiling.  He will smile for all eternity.

Evil Infects All of History: James Foley was Murdered because He Represented Goodness

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

The brutal murder of journalist, James Foley, had nothing to do with James Foley.  It had to do with the fact that the man represented Goodness.  Satan, in complete charge of his conquered souls, has had them inflicting horror and terror and barbaric acts of murder and cruelty on, not only men, but on women and children as well.  This evil has been with us since time immemorial.  Let us travel back a mere 71 years and meet a sweet and kindly lady by the name of Sister Maria Restituta.

May 1, 1894, was a happy day for Anton and Marie Kafka.  Marie had just given birth to her sixth child and mom and her daughter were doing fine.  The proud parents named their new baby, Helena.  Devout Catholics, Anton and Marie had Helena baptized  into the faith thirteen days later at the parish of The Church of the Assumption, in the town oh Husovice in Austria.   Due to financial circumstances, Anton was forced to move his family to the big city of Vienna.  Helena was barely two and she and her siblings would remain in Vienna where they would all grow up.

Helena was a good student and worked hard.  She received her First Holy Communion in May of 1905 in St. Brigitta Church and was confirmed in the same church one year later.  After eight years of school she spent another year in housekeeping  school and by the age of 15 was working as a servant, a cook and learning to be a nurse.  She became an assistant nurse at Lainz City Hospital in 1913.  This was when Helena  first had contact with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.  She immediately felt the call to become a Sister herself.  On April 25, 1914, Helena Kafka, joined the Franciscan Sisters and on October 23, 1915, she became Sister Maria Restituta.  One year later she made her final vows and began working solely as a nurse.

SisterRestituta.jpg
Blessed Maria Restituta

When World War I  ended, Sister Maria  was lead surgical nurse at Modling Hospital in Vienna.  She and all other Austrians had never heard of Adolf Hitler and could never have imagined that one day their beloved nation would be annexed into the German Republic because of this man.  On March 12, 1938, a successful coup d’etat by the Austrian Nazi party took place and the Nazis, under the now feared, Adolf Hitler, took control of the once proud Austrian nation.  Things would never be the same.

Sister Restituta was very outspoken in her opposition to the Nazi regime. When a new wing to the hospital was built Sister hung a Crucifix in each of the new bedrooms.  The Nazis demanded that they be removed telling Sister Maria that she would be dismissed if she did not comply.  She adamantly refused and the Crucifixes remained on the walls.  One of the doctors on staff, himself a fanatical Nazi, would have  none of it.  He denounced her to the Nazi Party and, on Ash Wednesday,  1942, she was arrested by the Gestapo as she exited the operating room.  The “charges” against her included   “hanging crucifixes and writing a poem that mocked Hitler”.

Sister Maria Restituta, the former Helena Kafka, loved her Catholic faith and, filled with the Holy Spirit, wanted to do nothing more than to serve the sick.  The Nazis promptly sentenced her to death by guillotine for “favouring the enemy and conspiracy to commit high treason”.  The Nazis offered her freedom if she would abandon the Franciscans she loved so much.  She refused.

An appeal for clemency went as far as the desk of Martin Bormann, Hitler’s personal secretary and Nazi Party Chancellor.  His response was that her execution “would provide effective intimidation for others who might want to resist the Nazis”.  Sister Maria Restituta spent her final days in prison caring for the sick.  Because of her love of the Crucifix and for the Person who was nailed to it and died hanging on it,  Sister Maria was sent to the guillotine and was beheaded on March 30, 1943.  She was 48 years old.

Pope John Paul II visited Vienna on June 21, 1998.  That was the day that Helena Kafka, the girl who started off in housekeeping school and became a servant and then went on to be a nurse in the Franciscan Sisters of Charity, was beatified by the Pope and became Blessed Maria Restituta. She had learned how to serve extremely well, always serving others before herself.

Let us ask Blessed Maria that she pray for the repose of the soul of James Foley who was murdered by the forces of evil because he, too, represented Goodness.  We ask her to remember his family and friends as they deal with this terrible abomination done to their loved one.  We also ask Blessed Maria and all the saints to pray for us all.