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Jerusalem church readies for first modern Palestinian saints

May 6, 2015 6:22 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 10, 2015 12:42 P.M.)
A worker hangs lights and Vatican flags at the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem.(AFP)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Jerusalem's Latin Patriarchate on Wednesday hailed the upcoming canonization by Pope Francis of two nuns who will become the first modern-day Palestinian saints.

Marie Alphonsine Ghattas of Jerusalem and Mariam Bawardy of Galilee, both of whom lived in Ottoman Palestine during the 19th century, will be canonized at the Vatican in Rome later this month.

"In Rome, Pope Francis will declare on May 17 two Palestinian nuns as saints, and we are in full preparation," Bishop William Shomali told journalists.

The pair's canonization "means that holiness is still possible, that ... spiritual perfection is still possible," he said.

"Our Holy Land continues to be holy, not only because of the holy places it hosts, but also because good people live here."

Pope Francis announced in February that the two nuns would be canonized -- the first Palestinian Arabs to gain sainthood.

Ghattas was born in Jerusalem in 1847, and died there in 1927. She was beatified -- the final step before canonization -- in 2009.

Bawardy was born in Galilee, now in northern Israel, in 1843. She became a nun in France and died in Bethlehem in 1878.

She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1983.

Although there are several saints who lived in the region during Christianity's early days, Bawardy and Ghattas are the first to be canonized from Ottoman-era Palestine.

"The Catholic Church has its own parameters to honor the best and outstanding among its faithful," Shomali said.

"Our Holy Land has given hundreds of saints during its long history. Our greatest saint is Holy Mary, mother of Jesus.

"But we have three only from the modern period, whose language was not Greek, or Latin, nor Aramaic, but Arabic."

The canonization of a third Palestinian -- a Salesian monk -- is still under review by the Church.
Sami / Palestine
Congrats to them. Palestine is the land of Christianity after all. Jesus was a Palestinian from an ethnic point of view, Jesus was not Ashkenazi, as Benjamin Mileikowsky and friends would like the world to believe
07/05/2015 01:39
Johnny benson / USA
Hey ,why not rewrite history...Mary joesph and Jesus were judeans...Jews...Rome started calling Judea /Israel...Palestine years after ....Arabs were not around then...technically Jews and arabs living in what is now Israel before 1948 ...we're called Palestinians....but that does not make Jesus Arab.
07/05/2015 05:52
Truthteller / USA
There are NO saints among the so-called Palestinians. All are Arab scumbags bent on destroying Israel and imposing a caliphate on the world. To hell with them all!
03/06/2015 21:36
amer / Palestine
Palestine will stay an Arab country forever .
21/06/2015 13:29
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