On Sunday, November 22nd, Salt and Light aired the Beatification of Mother Marie Alphonsine Daniel Ghattas. (If you missed it, you can catch the Italian language rebroadcast Tuesday,
November 24th at 3:30pm ET.) This little-known "beata" is the founder of the Rosary Sisters, a religious community whose primary task is the education of girls and young women in the Holy Land. She is also the first Palestinian saint of modern times, and a source of much needed spiritual encouragement for the embattled Christians of the Holy Land. One priest of the Latin Patriarchate said it this way:
Here in the Holy Land we have many Biblical stones. We have many buildings and landmarks where important things happened. But Mother Marie Alphonsine is a living stone. She was a Palestinian woman who is now a saint.
In this land of sand and stone, the metaphor is more than appropriate. After all, the title of "stone" was also given to another Palestinian saint, Peter, to whom Jesus said "you are 'Rock' and on this rock I will build my Church." In a region of shifting sands, where the Christian population has dwindled to dismal numbers in the last fifty years (less than two percent of the general population), it's not hard to imagine Jesus saying to Marie Alphonsine, our Living Stone: "Rebuild my church". And judging from the throngs of Christians who flocked to the beatification ceremony last Sunday, the rebuilding is under way.
A Canadian connection
While the live images of the Beatification came courtesy of Telepace, Italy's Catholic network, Salt and Light also was in Nazereth to film the ceremony, thanks to the Blessed's Canadian connection. Fifty relatives of Mother Marie Alphonsine came to the ceremony, including a delegation of nine from Canada. Our upcoming documentary will introduce you to the Daniel family, who traveled from Montreal to join their family in Nazareth.
You'll hear the story of Blessed Marie Alphonsine through her extended family, the Rosary Sisters. You'll also meet Helen Hannah and her daughter Natalie, and their story of the power of Blessed Marie Alphonsine's intercession. You'll witness the miracle that Mother Marie performed during her lifetime. You will meet this Living Stone of the Holy Land.
Tune in at 3:30pm ET, Tuesday November 24th, to see the rebroadcast of the Beatification of Mother Marie Alphonsine. The documentary will be released in the coming months.