DEIR RAFAT – On Saturday, October 7, 2017, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Sr. Ignaël of the Monastic Sisters of Bethlehem, and of the Assumption of the Virgin, and of Saint Bruno, professed her vows before Sr. Liesse Myriam, prioress of Deir Rafat monastery in the presence of 11 Sisters of the community.
The ceremony, which is the first to take place in Deir Rafat for the Bethlehem Sisters, was presided by Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine and concelebrated by Br. Maximilien, the prior general of Tel Gamaliel monastery.
In his homily, Bishop Marcuzzo highlighted the importance of this consecration, reminding of the words of St. Bernard in his The Love of God: “The true measure of loving God is to love Him without measure” he said. “This is a difficult thing, but it’s possible to live it because it’s a grace from God. He became man so that we love Him”. On this very special day, the feast of Our Lady of Rosary, the Patriarchal Vicar talked about the faith of the Blessed Virgin: a faith characterized by the availability and total acceptance of God.
At the end of the ceremony, the Patriarchal Vicar thanked the Sisters for the mission they carry out in the Holy Land.
Sr. Ignaël, who hails from the Diocese of Touraine in France, wore the monastic habit 11 years ago, and took the name of Ignaël which means “My God is a devouring fire” starting thus her mission of praying for the unity of the Catholic and Oriental church. In 2013, she came to Deir Rafat where she spent two years in contemplative prayers.
The Monastic Sisters of Bethlehem, and of the Assumption of the Virgin, and of Saint Bruno was founded in 1950 in Rome after Pope Pius XII declared the promulgation of the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. A year later in 1951, the first monastic sisters of Bethlehem community was founded in France, and in 1976, the first monastic Monks Bethlehem community was founded in the Chartreuse mountains in France.
Today, there are 30 monasteries for the sisters and three for the monks in 15 countries. In the Holy Land, they are present in Beit Gemal, Deir Rafat, Lavra Netofa in Galilee, in addition to Bethlehem.