“The canonization of two Palestinian nuns is an important spiritual moment for the inhabitants of the Holy Land. In the midst of all our difficulties, Maryam and Maria Alphonsine are a light in our path, an encouragement not to give up and to keep our eye on our target and vocation: holiness. The Holy Land is violated and divided, these two saint give it its sacredness back. Holiness is possible, even in most difficult situations. Maryam and Marie Alohonsine did not experience the Israeli and Palestinian slashes, but they live in poverty and in difficult times. Mariam was not educated, she could not read or write. Nevertheless, both of them loved God and their brothers through perseverance, patience and humility, through love amnd sacrifice they became saints” these are the words of the patriarch of Jerusalem, Mons. Fouad Twal. He spoke one week before the canonization of Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas and Maryam Baouardy; Pope Francis will celebrate the ceremony on Sunday May 17, in Rome.
A program packed with initiatives was presented during a press conference at the Christian Media Center in Jerusalem for those who cannot attend the celebration in Rome. At the conference there were the bishop William Shomali and father David Neuhaus; the mother superior of the Nuns of the Rosary (congregation founded by Mari Alphonsine), mother Iness Al-Yacoub; father Dobromir Jasztal; bishop Jules Zerey; and father Pietro Felet. From Saturday May 9, there will be Masses, Rosaries and vigil in the Sanctuary dedicated to Mother Alphonsine, in Mamilla of Jerusalem, in Bethlem and birthplace in Galilea. After the canonization until November, throughout the Holy Land there will be Masses to thank the new saints.
Two women, two religious, two Palestinian. They both lived in XIX century, Maryam and Marie Alphonsine helped weak and poor people in and out of the Church; they are both named after the Virgin Mary. “This event is pure joy, it is a great event. It gives us hope and determination to keep our mission going, to carry our crosses with joy and charity, to serve and love people,” said Mother Iness Al-Yacoub.
Mond. Shomali, auxiliary bishop of the Latin Patriarchy of Jerusalem, said, “Holiness speaks Arab, they are Arabian. We are proud. But we should not be the only one to be proud, holiness is universal. If they are holy, it is for everyone. Their intercession is for everyone. They will surely pray for the Holy Land in a special way. This is why we are going to Rome to celebrate and pray them to remember us. And they will”.
Transaltion provided by Mary Ann D’Costa