Asia / Lebanon – Maronite Sister of the Holy Family: “Along with the youth, we follow Jesus in the mission”
Beirut (Agenzia Fides) – “It’s hard to believe that in 2022 people will still be living in poverty, with homes without bathrooms, kitchens, heating systems, electricity, where people are still dying of tuberculosis and where they go to school without books and shoes.” Except “: This is the testimony given by Marie Antoinette Sade, the superior general of the Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family in Beirut, to Agenzia Fides. “We are a small community of holy women in the mission,” explains Sister Mary, “we follow Jesus Christ in the mission, close to the youth and children.” Today, we are in charge of about forty structures in Lebanon, including a university, a school and a hospital in Batrun. We are also present in Syria and Australia. ”
The Church of the Holy Family for Women was founded in 1895 by Patriarch Elias Hoek of the Maronite Church. From the beginning, the sisters’ main occupation was the education of young Lebanese girls, with the aim of integrating the Christian faith into families. The sisters then set up special missions for children, the sick and the elderly. “We are witnessing profound changes at all levels in Lebanese society,” said the Superior General. “Due to the difficult economic situation in Lebanon, people no longer believe in the future. Young people expect to leave the country: they see the best prospects for the future, the chance to live well, and this tendency particularly affects the Christian community.”
The nun added: “In urban areas and especially in rural areas, we understand the extent of poverty and misery. Illiteracy is very high, there are many children who do not start their first year of primary school. Later, hospitals are only available in the capital, where you can only occasionally find a nurse in a rural clinic like ours. “
“Today, our commitment, he underlines, starts with ensuring the necessities of daily life, starting with food. There is a lack of basic necessities like cooking oil, detergents, tissues. People fight for the most basic things.”
“Despite everything, there is hope and we can testify to it,” said senior Mary to Fides. Over the years, we have seen how the Lord has opened the way to this mission. And in 2015 we started the first school year by enrolling 140 children, teaching some nuns, and we have a team of local teachers with whom we work closely in collaboration. ” Since 2016, he continues, we have implemented a system of supportive study for adults, to make up for lost years of schooling. Enrollment is much higher, and for us it is a sign of great hope, which we see painted on the faces of young and old who are lucky enough to return to their school benches.
“There’s still a lot to do,” said Sister Marie, “and it’s very important to see the many young Lebanese who are in formation, shy but encouragingly positive, who need to be animated and helped.” We, the Maronite Sisters, conclude that in our own style and in accordance with the charisma of our Founder, the Revered Servant of God Elijah Hoek (1843 – 1931), we aim to respond to the challenges that this land and this society poses. To us. ”
(ES) (Agenzia Fides 4/6/2022)