Feast of Blessed Marie-Alphonsine in the Holy Land
Thousands of faithful gathered in several cities of the Holy Land to honor Blessed Marie-Alphonsine from November 17 to 19, 2011. Foundress of the Rosary Sisters, Mother Marie-Alphonsine was beatified two years ago. This child of the Holy Land remains in all memories.
Jaffa of Nazareth
Festivities in honor of Blessed Marie-Alphonsine took place in Jaffa of Nazareth (Galilee), where some 1500 faithful gathered on November 18th. At the invitation of the parish priest Fr. Elias Tabbane and of the Rosary Sisters, including the Superior General Mother Iness Al-Yacoub, faithful honored the relics of the blessed.
Followed a procession involving children, priests, nuns, schools and people surrounding. Out of respect for a recently deceased local personality, avoiding festive demonstrations, the originally planned procession to be held in the village was finally held at the door of the parish courtyard.
Relics of Mother Marie-Alphonsine were deposited at the so-called shrine of the well. This place commemorates a miracle during her lifetime. Many people come each year to ask for grace through her intercession. Father Elias commemorated Sisters’ life with a short reading of her biography. The Rosary Sisters also meditated on the mysteries of the Rosary using words of their Foundress.
H.B. Michel Sabbah, Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem, presided over the Mass in honor of Blessed Marie-Alphonsine, in presence of Bishop Giacintos Boulos Marcuzzo, Auxiliary Bishop for Israel, some twelve priests of the Latin Patriarchate and of Franciscan friars. Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo delivered the sermon. He highlighted the figure of Marie-Alphonsine as “a person devoted exclusively to the spiritual values that animated her life, and which transcend time to reach us”. “She is a child of the Holy Land, whom having received a message from the Blessed Virgin, always sought to be faithful to the Church and to do everything through it, with it and in it”. Finally the Bishop emphasized the incarnated dimension of her testimony, “through which the Lord invites us to embody our eternal faith in a reality, a place, a culture, a time”.
The following day, on November 19, commemorating Mother Marie Alphonsine’s beatification two years ago, some 250 faithful gathered for Eucharist at Mamilla in Jerusalem, along with Bishop William Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem, surrounded by priests and the Rosary sisters, including their Superior General. Mamilla is where Mother Marie-Alphonsine was buried. Then celebration began with the censing of her tomb and proceeded with the proclaiming of the Gospel. In his homily Bishop Shomali underlined that: “Blessed Marie-Alphonsine lived the Beatitudes. On November 8, we remembered all the saints in Jerusalem who themselves lived the Beatitudes. On November 1st, we also celebrated millions of saints who lived the Beatitudes. What does this mean? That living the saintly life of the beatitudes is possible for us! In fact the grace of God never fails”. After Mass the Rosary Sisters welcomed the faithful to a warm and festive reception.
Blessed Marie-Alphonsine was also honoured in Bethlehem. Father Imad Twal celebrated a Mass in her honor in Fuheis (Jordan). Blessed Marie-Alphonsine is still alive in the memory and the heart of the faithful throughout the Holy Land. Even today she continues through her intercession to water the earth where she lived, that the rain of these recent days is a sign.