Two Saints from our Holy Land
Under the theme "Two Saints from our Land", 45 catechists from Christian schools were gathered for a spiritual retreat on Friday, March 13, 2015 in Taybeh. which was organized by the, Catechetical office of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem.
The focus of the day was to reflect on the special event that will take place on the 17th of May 2015, which is the Canonization of the two Blessed women: Mary Alphonsine Ghattas, foundress of the Congregation of the Rosary Sisters and Mariam Baouardy (Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified), foundress of the Carmel of Bethlehem. What are the spiritual and lessons that the catechists can draw from their lives?
The day started with prayer and reflection in the Church led by Sr. Virginie Habib. The group then moved to the parish hall where they listened and watched a presentation about the town of Taybeh.
H.E.Bishop William Shomali gave a general idea about the lives of these two saints, and the miracles through their intercession that brought them to the level of holiness. He offered the educators ten familiar and common points in the lives of the saints that they can apply to the mission of education. Finally, everyone sang a hymn for the two Blesseds that Bishop Shomali composed to the tune of "Come, Sing to the Lord."
Everyone went to Church afterwards, to meditate in silence and be prepared for the celebration of Mass. After lunch, the catechists visited the house of parables, the parish area, and the “al Khader” archaeological church, where they listened to the explanation about these places from Father Jack Abed, parish priest of the Byzantine church in Taybeh.
The day had a very positive and spiritual impact among the participants. The following are some quotations from the catechist’s comments:
“This day has revived in us the love of living closer to Christ, away from discontent and anger, complaints of worries of life and to turn all these to love and joy.”
"This meeting nourishes us on the physical and spiritual level."
"These meetings help us to know our country and be more rooted in her love."
"It was a great experience where we felt joy and peace, we felt such as one family."
"This spiritual retreat helped me to renew my spiritual energy and increase my ability to meditate on God's blessings and bounty and access the path of holiness."
"I learned to let all my works be motivated by love and must bloom where planted in the garden of the Lord, like how Marie Alphonsine and Mariam Baouardy bloomed.”
“I learned that, with every sunrise there is life and a call for me to stay near God, beside the Cross".
Sr. Virginie Habib
Director of Catechetical office