AP) – 23 hours ago
NAZARETH, Israel — A Palestinian nun who co-founded a charity dedicated to educating Arab girls on Sunday took an important step toward sainthood.
Thousands of worshippers gathered in the biblical town of Nazareth to attend the beatification of the late Sister Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas.
Ghattas helped found the Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of Jerusalem in the 1880s. The order, highly regarded in Palestinian communities, continues to run schools for Palestinian girls in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Ghattas died in Jerusalem in 1927 at the age of 83.
During Sunday's ceremony, the church unveiled a portrait of Ghattas.
Pope Benedict XVI approved the beatification in July — the final step before sainthood.
"The beatification of such an important figure of a woman is a particular comfort for the Catholic community in the Holy Land," Benedict said during his traditional Sunday noon blessing in St. Peter's Square.
Who was Sister Marie Alphonsine Ghatta?
On November 22, Sister Marie Alphonsine will be solemnly beatified in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. This is an opportunity to reflect on the life of this girl from Jerusalem to whom the Holy Virgin inspired the founding of the Congregation of the Rosary Sisters , the only indigenous religious community in the Holy Land.
Sultanah Maria Ghattas was born in Jerusalem on the 4th of October, 1843, and baptized on the 19th of November the same year. On 18th July, 1852, she received the Sacrament of Confirmation from the hands of His Beatitude Giuseppe Valerga, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
At the age of 14, she joined the Congregation of St. Joseph of the Apparition as a Postulant. On the 30th of June, 1860, she received the Holy Habit of the Religious of St. Joseph of the Apparition. Two years later, in 1862, she pronounced her three vows. In Bethlehem where she was assigned, she was entrusted with the teaching of Catechism. Besides, she founded Confraternities and Associations and promoted the devotion to Our Lady through the prayer of the Rosary.
She was favored with several apparitions of Our Lady who revealed to Mother Marie Alphonsine Her desire to begin the Congregation of the Rosary. The Virgin Mary appointed Fr. Joseph Tannous as her Director to administer the Congregation of the Rosary.
Read further her story...