Two Blessed from this Diocese soon to be canonized
JERUSALEM – The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Mgr Fouad Twal, announced on 1 November, All Saints Day, that canonization of Blessed Marie of Jesus Crucified and Blessed Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas, two nuns from the Holy Land, could be celebrated this year.
Mariam Bwardi was born in the Galilean village of Ibillin. She is founder of the Carmel of Bethlehem where it is still possible to drop inside her room. In her lifetime she received the grace of stigmatas. A mystical figure, she was overrun by many dreams through which she entered in relationship with Jesus. In one of her dreams she reportedly received the vision of the Emmaus locality, close to Latroun. At the time of her Beatification in 1983, John Paul II reminded in a few words the merits of this sister’s life : “It reflects the different faces of the Church ; the Greek Catholic Church in which she was baptized and brought up ; the Latin Church where she was prepared for the Carmelite life. Beyond her homeland, she joined Christian communities in Lebanon, Egypt, France and India. Few saints received so many high-valued graces, enriched with abundant stigmatas, ecstasies, knowledge of hearts, prophesies, angelic possession and – most unexpected for nn illiterate girl – the gift of poetry”
Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas was born in Ein Karem. She is founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Rosary devoted to help elderly people and young children, mostly poor families, but also to fight against moral poverty, by giving to each individual, through culture and education, means to develop one’s faith and dignity. In the beatification homily of 2009 Patriarch used these words to describe the present Blessed : “Mother Sultaneh Ghattas is born to a very pious family in Jerusalem, a family where they worked and prayed together. Sultaneh felt that the Lord called her to embrace religious life and therefore joined the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Apparition. After the first vows, her Mother Superior entrusted her with the mission of teaching Catechism at the Sisters school in Bethlehem. Sr Marie Alphonsine was an unparalleled catechist, a humble educator, and a tireless apostle. She was gratified by repeated visions of Our Lady, urging her to set up for the girls of her country a congregation which will carry the name Sisters of the Rosary”. From her own family, she “stemmed a deep piety, a strong faith in Providence and a complete trust in the Virgin Mary. But she excelled in two special virtues : love for silence and the hidden life on the one hand, love for the cross and the sacrifice on the other” .
Both sisters lived in the second half of the 19th century. The consistory of cardinals will be held on 2 December to give their final approval. The diocese prays that, during year 2015, the Church of the Holy Land will joyfully entrust itself to these two sisters, by following their example in faith, in union with God and in charity.
Pierre Loup de Raucourt