Monday, 06 July 2009 14:49
The Pope approved the publication of a number of church decrees promoting a number of exemplary believers who are on the way to being recognized as saints in the Catholic Church. Among them was Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas, a child of our country and the foundress of the Sisters of the Rosary.
On Friday, July 3, 2009, the Pope approved the publication of the decrees of twelve people who lived lives of exemplary faith and/or who had died as martyrs. Among those who were recognized as exemplary believers and as workers of miracles after their death, were Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas and Cardinal John Newman, an Englishman. This kind of recognition advances the cause of each one of them as a candidate for publically recognized sainthood in the Church.
Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas (who received the name Sultanah Maria at her baptism) was born in Jerusalem in 1843. At the age of 14, she entered the congregation of Saint Joseph of the Apparition, the first congregation of apostolic sisters to be active in the country. Mary, Mother of Jesus, began to appear to her and asked that she found a congregation specifically for the Christian young women of the land. She took counsel with Father Youssef Tannous, a priest of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, who gave her support. In 1880, the first group of seven young women entered the new congregation and took the veil.
In 1883, Marie-Alphonsine also entered the new congregation after having received permission from Rome to leave the Sisters of Saint Joseph. She was active until the end of her lifetime and she founded schools in the towns and villages. Until the end of her life, her sisters in the congregation did not know that she was the founder and she lived in remarkable humility. The Sisters of the Rosary, who are all Arab, serve the Latin Church throughout the Arab world.
It might be the case that the publication of he decree advances the recognition of Marie-Alphonsine as "blessed", the last step before her proclamation as a saint.