The Sisters of the Rosary at the service of the Arab population since a century
HOLY LAND – The Church celebrates on 7 October the feastday of Our Lady of the Rosary, an occasion to record in brief the history of the foundation of the Rosary Sisters, born in the Holy Land and operating since over a century in Arab-speaking countries. The founder of this Congregation St Marie Alphonsine Daniel Ghattas was canonized on 17 May 2015.
At the end of the 19th century, when Pope Leon XIII appealed for a comeback to a precise study of the Bible and to praying the Rosary, the Church of the Holy Land found concrete answers to this call: the founding of the Biblical School of Jerusalem, on the one hand, and of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Rosary, on the other hand.
The Rosary Sisters were the offshoot of a meeting between Fr Joseph Tannous, op (1838-1892) and a sister of St Joseph of the Apparition, Marie Alphonsine Daniel Ghattas, born in Ain Karim. While praying at the Convent of Bethlehem, the Holy Virgin called on her to create a congregation focusing on the prayer of the Rosary. She responded to this appeal by founding a congregation of apostolic nuns that will help millions of Arab-speaking Christians.
The first foundations were established in Nazareth, Ain Karim, Bethlehem and Jerusalem: these places are the reflection of the heart of the mission, backbone of this congregation. Each of them would refer to different mysteries of the Rosary: joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious. The apostolate of the Sisters will never be dissociated from this prayer which they recite on a daily basis.
The wish of St Marie Alphonsine came true: nowadays the community embraces some 300 sisters distributed in Palestine, including Gaza, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Kuwait, in certain Emirates, as well as in Rome. Their missions are focused on universities, schools, hospitals especially for the welfare of the Arab population. They work more specifically for the education of young girls and women, Muslims and Christians alike.
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