In Memory of Sabri Stephen Panow
By Naima Panow MD

Note: Many people do not realize in Iraq there is a population of Catholic's and they have suffered as the whole entire country of Iraq as suffered. Medjugorje USA's opinion is that hatred and war in and of itself serves no good purpose. Below is the story of the life of one good Catholic who lived in Iraq and died because this world chooses hatred and war. The story is told by his sister.

Sabri Stephen Panow



Born in Azekh to Stephen Abdul Masseh Panow and Shimoni Gabriel Toma Hendow. Our father died when Sabri was 7 years old. We were three sisters and one brother Sabri 


Sabri was so smart finished elementary school in three years. Was admitted to the technical school in Baghdad and he chose electricity. He worked in the port department in Margle Part of Basra City. He was sent to UK to be specialized in rewinding motors. He had a private workshop and contracts with most of the factories in Basra as well as the ships which come to Basra for business.


Sabri loved every one of us and especially mother. He never kissed my mother on the cheek, always used to bend to kiss her hand. Mother used to pull her hand back asking him please do not do that, but Sabri insisted to do that to the end.


To me he was the father, the brother and the best friend. When I was admitted to the medical school in Baghdad.  Sabri was so proud to know his little sister is going to be a doctor. One time I received a letter from one of the boys I used to study with for High school exam. He was a Moslem and uncle Raouf knows him. Jaafar sent me a letter from UK asking me to translate the Biology book from English to Arabic. I sent a letter to Sabri asking him if it is OK to do that since he is a Moslem. Sabri answered, “ Why you do not ask the permission to eat, sleep, go to school and so on. Do you think you need a permission from me? You are going to be a doctor and from now on you should learn to make the decision not only for you but for others.”


Sabri was the most good-hearted man I have ever seen. This man never knew the word hate, envious or stop a relationship between friends or family. He was so generous just like my mother. He used to help the poor and those who needs help. My mother used to bring us material asking us to make dresses for this woman and that poor. Sabri used to come and ask us to make two or three more women dresses so that he could give them to the mother of the students he is teaching and training.   


He traveled to Germany to visit one of his students. By the way that Moslem student was converted to the Catholic faith in Germany. He visited England and Wales 3-4 times. He have been to the Holy land, most of the Middle East including Iran. In 1992 he came to stay with me for 9 months. All my American friends loved him and we were invited for dinner just to talk and listen to Sabri. I was so proud of him.


He was so smart and read books on weekly bases especially History and Religion. In 1996 the last time I was in Iraq he gave me the best gift- The bible -On the same page you read the bible in Arabic and the other half in English. Sabri sent one as a gift to Ban our niece. She told me, I use it daily to explain the bible to her children.   


One time he was working with his men repairing an electric problem. Accidentally one of the men opened the line. Sabri feel down to the ground shaking. Every one said he is dead. Sabri sat down smiling and burst laughing. They rushed him to the doctor who could not believe Sabri is standing in front of him. Sabri said, “As soon as I feel to the ground I saw a large picture of Our Lady holding Jesus- the Perpetual help.” Since then Sabri never went to sleep with out saying three Rosaries. 


I know he is in heaven and praying for me. I was so blessed to have been able to talk to him only 3 days before his death. We talked for an hour. Thank God I did that. There is more to say but I am sure you would share with me the great loss I had but most of all to glorify his live with the Lord.


God bless you all


Naima Stephen Panow 

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