Chaldean parishioner received Communion before horrific accident that took her life
By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
There aren't many silver linings in tragedies, but Father Sarmad Biloues saw one after the July 9 drowning death of Warina Nissan, a member of St. Peter and Paul's Chaldean Parish.
"She had just received Communion (that day)," said an emotional Father Biloues.
Nissan, 51, died one day after failing to save her 20-month-old grandson, Ivan Yousif, from drowning.
Police are calling the deaths of the two an "unimaginable tragedy." They believe Nissan tried to save her grandson after he fell into the pool at her Surrey apartment complex. Nissan couldn't swim, and she failed to retrieve her grandson. She died from her injuries a day later at Burnaby General Hospital.
Father Biloues said Nissan had a strong faith in God and was a beloved member of the Chaldean community. He said approximately 1,000 people attended her memorial Mass July 14.
Father Biloues called Nissan a kind-hearted woman. "She was close to God, so I told the parishioners not to be sad for her."
He added Nissan's death reminds everyone that Catholics need to be ready, as death can come unexpectedly.
Father Biloues said the catastrophe has been very tough on the community. "We are supporting the family," he said. "It is our tradition to always be in the home (after a tragedy)."
Father Biloues said Nissan's husband, Daniel Shaheenm, thanked the community for their support, especially for supporting Ivan's parents, Sabah and Donya Yousif.
Members of the Chaldean Parish of Sts. Peter and Paul are Middle Eastern Catholics. Nissan and the rest of her family came to Canada five years ago as refugees from Syria.
While the death of Nissan and her grandson is difficult to comprehend, Father Biloues said, the family and community can be confident the two are with God.
"We don't have to cry or be sad," he said. "Communion abolishes sins."