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JERUSALEM – On October 8, 2017, feast of St. Daniel of Comboni, two Comboni Sisters Fulgida Gasparini and Manna Maria Ghidei, celebrated their Golden Jubilee during Mass presided by Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem and in Palestine.

On Sunday, October 8, the Comboni Sisters of Jerusalem celebrated their feast day on this feast of St. Daniel Comboni, their founder, with the Golden Jubilee of Sister Fulgida and Sister Manna Maria.

Full of joy and enthusiasm, the 12 members of the Comboni Sisters of Jerusalem welcomed their guests and introduced them to the community.

Founded in 1872 by Daniel Comboni, the congregation is present throughout the world and especially in African countries. Members are mostly Italian but there are also Sisters from Ethiopia, Eritrea and other African countries. In Jerusalem, the sisters take care of a nursery school, recently split in two by the wall separating Israel and Palestine.  The school today encounters challenges in order to survive. The children from Bethany could no longer come. The community also has other outreaches with the Bedouins as they follow their education, in prisoner ministry and the reception of pilgrims. Several times a year, they organize conferences and spiritual retreats.

Sister Fulgida is Italian, who worked extensively in Kenya. In the midst of the Nilotic tribes, she was involved in the education of children. Sister Manna is Eritrean and has worked mainly in clinics and hospitals as a nurse. Celebrating this Golden Jubilee was a great joy for her after miraculously escaping death in a car accident a few years ago.

The Eucharistic celebration was held in the Chapel, where the two Sisters renewed their vows which they made for the first time fifty years ago.  Present were about 40 guests of priests and sisters.  Many friends of the community from West Jerusalem and from the other side of the Wall were unable to come because of the many checkpoints set in East Jerusalem to regulate the flow of people during this Jewish celebration of Sukkot.

At the end of the celebration, Bishop Marcuzzo thanked the Sisters for their commitment to their community and to those in need. Mass was enlivened by African sounds and songs performed by migrants whom the Sisters work with.  A variety of Italian and African specialties were enjoyed by all who came to the Jubilee celebration.

Vivien Laguette

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