Pope Francis has canonized 19th century Palestinian nuns Marie Alphonsine Ghattas and Mariam Bawardy, who have taught religious doctrines despite the male-dominated Ottoman society.
The two Palestinian nuns, now officially recognized as St Marie-Alphonsine and St Mary of Jesus Crucified, became the first Catholic saints from the region.
Two Palestinian nuns saw the Virgin Mary
St Marie-Alphonsine was born to a Palestinian family in Jerusalem. She established the Congregation of the Rosary Sisters during the 19th century, which is running kindergarten and schools at present.
St Mary of Jesus Crucified on the other hand was born in Galilee to Catholic parents from Syria and Lebanon. She performed numerous miracles and experienced stigmata.
Both Palestinian nuns saw apparitions of the Virgin Mary and are said to had kept constant communication with her.
A French nun and an Italian nun were also canonized by Pope Francis.
“To abide in God and in His love, and thus to proclaim by our words and our lives the resurrection of Jesus, to live in unity with one another and with charity towards all – this is what the four women Saints canonized today did. Their luminous example challenges us in our lives as Christians,” Pope Francis said in his homily.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attended the ceremony.
Pope Francis hopes to revive Christian presence in the region
The canonization of the two Palestinian nuns is viewed as strong indication that Pope Francis wants to revive the decreasing number of Christians in the Middle East, David Willey of BBC News said.
His opinion was echoed by Gerard O’Connell, Vatican correspondent and associate editor of America magazine.
Pope Francis “is anxious to encourage the two peoples, to push and prod them to somehow make initiatives, so they take the next step. He’s trying to use his moral authority to get them to come together,” O’Connel said.
Father Jamal Khadr, head of the Latin Patriarchate Seminary in Beit Jala, said the canonization of the two Palestinian nuns gives hope for the persecuted Christians in the Middle East region. The two Palestinian saints now became the hero for the Christians fleeing war and hatred in the region.
“Everyone is interested in this event to celebrate those two new heroes in a special way. They are heroes of peace, of education, of justice and fraternity with others. We need those role models in our lives when we suffer from so much violence and hatred,” Khadr said.
Also read: State Of Palestine Exists – Vatican
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