« As long as you persevere and stand firm on the solid base of the faith ;
never letting yourselves drift away from the Hope promised by the Good News, which you have heard,
which has been preached to the whole human race, and of which I, Paul, have become the servant. (Col. 1/23)
In response to an appeal from some Jesuits,
the Sisters of St Joseph of Lyon arrived in the Lebanon from Armenia
to serve in the Hotel-Dieu in Bayreuth as well as in the French Maternity Hospital and to care for the Armenian refugees in the Lebanon.
They were 17 Sisters in all, of different nationalities:
French, American, Mexican, Armenian, Italian and later on Lebanese.
Little by little the Sisters of St Joseph settled in other parts.
During the Civil War, and after much suffering alongside the people, especially the persecuted Christians, the Sisters were forced to head for the exit and make for a Christian region less exposed to persecution.
The Sisters were called to the south of Lebanon, at the frontier with Israel, to open a primary school. They ran a dispensary for the village and the region as well as a mission for the young, the old people and Our Lady’s Society.
A mission in the parish: The Sisters provided different services:
in the sacristy, preparation of children for First Communion,
youth meetings, visiting the sick and house bound, C.V.X. group, etc.
Other short-lived missions
For different reasons (the war in the Lebanon, shortage of Sisters)
we were obliged to leave certain places, for example the Hotel Dieu hospital
and the French maternity hospital in 1968, a non-paying primary school in Darb-elsim,
another non-paying primary school at Beit-Ed Din.
In the same way we relinquished the management of two government dispensaries
at Rayfoun and Achkout (kesrwwan) also for lack of nursing Sisters.
Our apostolic commitments
Education Mission(at Klayaa and Deir El Harf):
Our schools, open, mixed and for all religious faiths are a rich ground to encourage communication and Hope between our pupils, and build a society of love which accepts differences as a form of richness and diversity will be a challenge for a friendly and fruitful future. Through our relations, teachers, parents and children we try to build bridges of communication and dialogue especially in our different living quarters, work places and activities with the help of human, civic and religious education, the environment and science.
Ignatian Retreats and recollections
In a world athirst for God, we share our Ignatian spirituality and our charism with all those who desire a relation with God. It is a time of silence, a time of self discovery, a time of sharing.
In a word it is an intense time of relationship with self with the dear neighbour and with the Lord.
This project is realised in conjunction with the Jesuit Priests.
Parish Mission: lThe Sisters are members of the Parish Committee (Deir el Harf, Klayaa and Ghadir): we try to make our presence as active as possible in the service of God’s people so that together we build God’s Church.
(Members of the liturgical team, the choral, youth groups,
prayer groups, children, First Communions, Gospel evenings, adoration, youth
youth camps, ongoing formation for Religious, The Red Cross, Caritas, catechism,
The environment in school and with other clubs in the region….)
The Justice & Peace Team: We collaborate with the laity who are working for Justice & Peace, for the care of the Earth and the Environment, Women’s Rights and War on Poverty.
We try to be open to the different cultures which spring up in our midst.
Pastoral care in Universities: Accompanying the young university students is a very lively mission. We are committed with the young, to advance with them, to help them to be faithful to their Church commitments during their university years and be able to fight with them against all the challenges coming from today’s world. This is made possible through regular meetings, weekends, formation and an annual camp divided into two parts: spiritual (an Ignatian retreat) and missionary with other activities for the formation of the young.
An environmental Club: In our school at Deir-el-Harf we have founded a Club to encourage the pupils in environmental education, in collaboration with other clubs in the region, for example: AFDC (Association for forest and development and conversation – Lebanon). Our pupils have already composed a song about the protection of the forest and a little play on the role of bees; both these projects have been adopted by AFDC and they are requested by other schools and environmental clubs.
Ignatian Network – Lebanon: The Ignatian Network assembles the entire Ignatian family in the Lebanon and it comprises the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), the Sisters of the Divine Hearts, the Sisters of Nazareth, Sisters of St Joseph of Lyon, Srs of St Joseph of the Apparition, the Srs of Jesus and Mary, the Company of Notre Dame, the Chemin Neuf Community, the Christian Life Community (CVX), Youth Eucharistic Movement (MEJ), as well as many lay movements of Ignatian Spirituality. These movements and communities try to be faithful to the spirituality born of St Ignatius Loyola and his Companions. It is a spirituality which continues to dynamise these communities for “the greater glory of God” and “the good of souls”.
Wherever our mission takes us, we try to be faithful to our spirituality and our charism.
Finally we beg Our Lord, Lord of the harvest, to assure, if he so wills,
the growth of our Congregation, by adding new members (Const 89),
for our world needs courageous women to live out the adventure of Religious Life
by bidding farewell to our securities and going out to meet the dear neighbour
in the joyful and unreserved gift of our whole life
so as to contribute, as feeble instruments,
to the construction of a new world.