Notre-Dame des Douleurs / Our Lady of Sorrows / Nossa Senhora das Dores

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JERUSALEM – On September 10, 2017, the community of the Daughters of Our Lady of Sorrows celebrated the 60th anniversary of Home in the Ras-Al-Amud neighborhood. It was on November 3, 1957 that the community inaugurated the new “Asylum” for the elderly and destitute according to the charism of their founding mother, Sr. Marie Saint-Frai.

The adventure began in 1954.

After receiving a letter from the parish priest of Bethlehem and a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Mother Bathilde, Superior General of the Daughters of Our Lady of Sorrows with the encouragement of Patriarch Alberto Gori, carried out  some investigations of administrative processes, including a search for land to establish a home that will accommodate the elderly and poor who do not have families.

The Latin Patriarchate, the Custody of the Holy Land and the Consulate General of France all agreed to support this ambitious project and facilitate the purchase of land belonging to the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition, which was then in Jordanian territory.

On March 19, 1956, the Feast of Saint Joseph, Patriarch Alberto Gori blessed and laid the foundation stone for the project.

The first Sisters moved at the end of 1956. They were generously received by the French religious communities already settled in the Holy Land. Thanks in particular to Mr. Marar and Mr. Kamar who carefully followed the construction of the new building, and as this operation brought them to travel the region, they perfectly fit into the local society.

Finally, the inauguration took place on November 3, 1957. Mother Bathilde, who during her pilgrimage in 1954 was profoundly touched by the material and social poverty in the land of Jesus, welcomed the first residents, 25 women and 12 men, to this new Home in Jerusalem.

Since 1957, This “Asylum” which became the “Home of  Our Lady of Sorrows”, welcomed 1,800 elderly in a situation of dependence.

On  September 10, Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar in Palestine celebrated the Jubilee Mass and recalled in his homily, the presence of Patriarch Michel Sabbah on the day of the inauguration, who was then the Master of Ceremonies, along with  Bishop Kamal Batish, a young priest at that time. Father Samandar was  also present in 1957, who continued to accompany the Home through the years and  making himself available every week for the Sunday Mass.

Today, the Home is taking on a major renovation project that is essential to maintaining its mission for the future. This beautiful and joyful Jubilee celebration was also an opportunity to present the project and to thank the many benefactors who have accompanied and continue to accompany the Home.

At the end of his homily, Bishop Marcuzzo launched the traditional “Mabrouk!”:  that this work be blessed by God and that it is also a blessing for the people  of this time. A great program for the next sixty years!

Cécile Klos

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