Pope Francis canonised four nuns this past Sunday. One of them is Sister Marie Alphonsine Danil Ghattas, born in Jerusalem in 1847.
St Ghattas opened girls’ schools, fought for female illiteracy, and co-founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Rosary, an order that boasts dozens of centres all over the Middle East today, operating kindergartens, homes for the elderly, medical clinics and guest houses.
In his homily, the Holy Father said that Ghattas understood clearly what it means to radiate the love of God, and to be a witness to meekness and unity. The pope said: “She shows us the importance of becoming responsible for one another, of living lives of service one to another”. The four newly canonised saints, he said, challenge us, by “their luminous example”to ask: how we can bear witness to the risen Christ.
Jordanian Fr Rifat Bader, director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Amman, said that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, St Marie-Alphonsine’s congregation “had a decisive role in the promotion of the Arab woman in the fields of culture, education and teaching” and to eliminating illiteracy in many parts of the Middle East.
Pray for us St Ghattas! Inspire us with your desire to educate!