St. Marie Alphonsine

StMarieAlphonsineSoultaneh Marie Ghattas was born in Jerusalem on October 4, 1843. Her devout parents baptized her on November 19th of the same year, and five years later, Soultaneh began attending school with the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Apparition.

In 1860, after a two-year postulancy with the sisters, Soultaneh received the religious habit, along with her new name, Marie Alphonsine (Maria Alfonsina). After her professions of vows in 1863, Sister Marie Alphonsine was assigned to teach at a public school in Jerusalem. She was a hard worker, and spent many hours in prayer and study preparing for her classes.

On January 6, 1874, the Feast of the Epiphany, the Blessed Mother appeared to Sister Marie Alphonsine in a vision. A year later, the Virgin appeared again and asked Sister Marie Alphonsine to establish a new religious community, the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary.

After she received a dispensation from the Holy See to leave the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition, Marie Alphonsine entered the community she had founded. On March 7, 1885, she professed vows as a Sister of the Most Holy Rosary, and in 1890, on the eve of the feast of the Holy Rosary, she was received as a Dominican tertiary.

Sister Marie Alphonsine dedicated the rest of her life to the care and education of young women. She served as a teacher and catechist in Jaffa, Beit-Sahour, and Salt. She also established an orphanage in Ain Karem. She promoted the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception, and the Confraternity of Christian Mothers.

Towards the end of her life, Sister Marie Alphonsine’s health began to fail. She died on March 25, 1927, the Feast of the Annunciation. She was beatified in 2009, and canonized by Pope Francis on May 17, 2015.

St. Marie Alphonsine Danil Ghattas will be remembered for her virtuous life, dedication and zeal. Her devotion to the Lord, her students, and her sisters, serves as a reminder of the holiness all Christians are called to in their day-to-day lives.