Loading
Bethlehem sisters call on world to pray for peace
Icon of Mary written on wall dividing Israel and Palestine May 24, 2014 Credit: Alan Holdren/CNA
Icon of Mary written on wall dividing Israel and Palestine May 24, 2014 Credit: Alan Holdren/CNA
by Elise Harris
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The sisters who run the only children’s hospital on the West Bank have made it their mission to pray for peace in the Holy Land, traveling each week to invoke a Marian icon on the wall dividing the region.

Mary’s image is “a sign to pray the rosary and to look at her because” the situation is “not easy,” Sister Donatella of the Padua Franciscans told CNA May 24. The icon, she said, is a reminder to “ask for peace in the Holy Land.”

Often referred to as “the dividing wall,” the barrier is under construction by the State of Israel and forms a separation between itself and Palestine.

Argued as necessary by Israel in order to protect civilians against Palestinian terrorism and suicide bombs, the wall is opposed by Palestinians, who object that the barrier violates international law and is an illegal attempt to annex Palestine under the false guise of security.

Recounting how the first procession to the icon, written on the wall by an English artist, was made 10 years ago as part of a larger international event to pray for peace, Sr. Donatella explained that the organizers wanted to “call the people in the world to pray for peace.”

Now occurring March 1 of each year on an international scale, the visit to the image is made by the sisters every Friday to pray the rosary for an end to conflicts and tensions in the area as well as a greater respect for human dignity. Depicted as pregnant, Mary in the icon is “impregnated by peace.”

Sr. Donatella is a member of the Padua Franciscan community and assists in running the only children’s hospital in Bethlehem, Caritas Baby Hospital.

Founded in 1962, the hospital was established by Fr. Ernst Schnydrig after he witnessed a father burying his child in the mud near a refugee camp on Christmas Eve. After learning that that the child died because he could not get medical care, the priest made a commitment that no child in the city of Jesus’ birth would ever be denied it.

Containing both a neo-natal and ICU unit, the hospital is nonprofit and has also established an educational program called Children’s Relief Bethlehem.

One of the most frequent problems affecting the children they treat are genetic diseases resulting from inter-family marriages, the sister explained.

It’s a great problem “especially because of Muslim familial and religious traditions” she observed, adding that although most women are at least partially aware of the risks of inter-family marriage “they can’t do anything because their family chooses their future husbands.”

Education on this topic, the sister noted, is one of the highest priorities of the Children’s Relief Bethlehem educational program.

Speaking of Pope Francis’ visit to Bethlehem tomorrow, where he will say Mass in the city’s Manger Square, Sr. Donatella expressed her hope that the pontiff will also bring a message of peace to the area.

“All of us would like Pope Francis to bring with him and let all of the world not lose hope for peace,” she said, adding that they would like him “to say that one day there will be peace in this land. Don’t lose the dream of peace.”

Tags: Prayer, Peace, Bethlehem, Pope in Holy Land

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Sep
23

Liturgical Calendar

September 23, 2014

Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, Priest

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 8:19-21

Gospel
Date
09/23/14
09/22/14
09/21/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Prov 21: 1-6, 10-13
Gospel:: Lk 8: 19-21

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
09/23/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 8:19-21

Homily
Date
09/23/14
09/22/14
09/21/14