On Sunday May 17th, Pope Francis and the Vatican canonized two Palestinian nuns in the presence of 1,000 Palestinians who flew to Rome to witness this historic and extremely important moment for Palestine and for all Palestinians in general.
Marie Alphonsine Ghattas was a Jerusalemite, like me. She lived and served in a parish in Ein Karem. She was the first to start a movement for educating Arab girls, and eventually she founded the Rosary Sisters schools and kindergartens. Today these schools are among the top educational institutes in Jerusalem and all around Palestine.
The second canonized nun Mariam Bawardy was born in the Galilee, in the Christian town of I’bilin. Mariam Bawardy established the two Carmelite monasteries, one in Nazareth and one in Bethlehem.
Both nuns performed miracles and have been recognized as saints among Palestinian Christians for decades.
This is a historical event for Palestinians. The Vatican not only recognized the two Palestinian saints, but on the same day, the Vatican also recognized Palestine as a state. As a result, the Palestinian flag was raised twice in Italy on the same day!
These events make me feel very proud. These women lived where I live, ate what I eat, and spoke with the same accent that I speak. They show that small acts of loving service and commitment to our community sow the seeds for greatness, and can have a significant impact on society. It really encourages me as a Palestinian to “do good, love mercy, and walk humbly.”
May was a good month for Palestine - the lands of saints!