The presence of the Poor Sisters of Clare in the Holy Land today started in 1884, when a group of French sisters arrived in Palestine and settled first in Nazareth and then in Jerusalem as well. The vocation of St. Clare – and therefore of the Order she founded – is identified with the vocation of this very land: not to do something, but to be the memory of the life of Christ. The Poor Clares lead contemplative lives: the invisible heart of monastic life is simply to cherish a Presence, attentively listening to the Word of God, that still and always becomes flesh within the events of history. The relationship with the Custody of the Holy Land is special; a fraternal relationship where they are united in the same charisma and the same love for the humanity of Christ. The Poor Clares are present in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Beirut and Alexandria.
The congregation of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was founded by Mother Catherine of St. Rose in Egypt and they are present in the Holy Land in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Cana, Jericho, Haifa, Nazareth, Tabgha and on the Mount of the Beatitudes. The charisma of these sisters which, like the Franciscan one, consists of bringing peace, equality and freedom to all, comes about in the schools, hospitals, dispensaries , infirmaries, homes, orphanages and in the work with families.
The Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary have been in the Holy Land for many years, supporting the Custody with their works of charity. Their activities are care for the elderly, the orphanage, the support and accommodation for pilgrims, a crèche and help for families in difficulty. In Bethlehem, the sisters have a house for retreats and youth meetings. A part of the structure is occupied by the “House of the Child”, founded by the Custody for children from 6 to 16. The sisters help run this house with the director and the parish priest of the diocese of Bethlehem, Brother Marwan. The Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary are also present in Syria, where they opened a house in 1911. Their main service is pastoral activity and support for the community of Sudanese refugees.
The congregation was founded in Mexico City in 1885, approved by Pope Pius X and joined the Third Order of St. Francis in 1942. The Charisma of these sisters has its heart in the “Paschal Mystery” of Jesus. Their spirituality is based on five pillars: living in full the Mystery of the Redemption; Mary Co-Redeemer; an active and contemplative life; service for suffering humanity; a simple and poor life. Their first objective is that of being present, in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, at the celebrations of the Mystery of the Redemption in close collaboration with the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land. As far as their missionary work is concerned, the sisters run a girls’ school which integrates the Christian and Muslim religions. They make the hosts for the Eucharistic celebrations of all the Custody’s sanctuaries. They are at the service of the pilgrims at the Cenacle. They work in the shop of religious objects and also visit families, the sick, the elderly and people living on their own.
A Pontifical community, founded on 2nd December 1973, the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist continue to answer the call of St. Francis of Assisi in the Church. Like St. Clare, the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist are consecrated religious who wish to incarnate the spirit of St. Francis in the world. The Community aims to reawaken the sense of the sacred which lies deep inside each human being and in the whole of creation.
Each sister devotes herself to the development of the human person and the protection of human life from conception to natural death, which stabilize, orient and guide the work of evangelization she carries out through the different apostolates of the Community. The missionary presence in the Holy Land includes work to support the Custody of the Holy Land and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
A Pontifical congregation since 1927, the Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus started their service in the Franciscan convent of St. Saviour in 1981.
The official invitation requested the Franciscan Sisters for the convent of St. Saviour, for them to take responsibility for the Infirmary of the Custody, the boys’ Orphanage and the kitchen of the convent.
The Franciscan sisters of the Heart of Jesus have houses in Malta and Gozo, Sicily, Bari, Rome (with the Generalate), Ferrara, London, Corfu, Jerusalem, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Australia, Brazil and Philippines. Today there are 5 Franciscan Sisters in Jerusalem and they are responsible for the kitchen. They work in the Infirmary and look after the vestments at the Basilica of the Resurrection.
The charisma of the Missionary Sisters of the Catechism is contained and shines in a single word: "I am the Bread of Life" (John 6,34). The Missionary Sisters therefore explain the gospel truths and the doctrine of the Teachings of the Church, through articulated forms of presence and apostolate and the implementation of those initiatives, means and methods suggested by the signs of the times and the needs of the Church.
The Missionary Sisters of the Catechism carry out their apostolate through different forms of presence and service. They are present in the Holy Land and support their Franciscan brothers in daily life. The Sisters of the Catechism support the activities of the Custody in Capharnaum, with service at the Franciscan monastery and in the sanctuary, with the house of prayer; in Nazareth, with service at the Franciscan hostel and with the house of prayer; in Ein Kerem, with the service at the Franciscan Monastery and the Casa Nova, and with the house of prayer; in Emmaus, in the Franciscan monastery, at the nursery school and with the house of prayer; lastly in Jerusalem, at the Casa Nova, supervising the cleaning personnel and with the house of prayer.
The Institute was founded in Montevarchi on the 15th of October, 1854 by Blessed Maria Teresa Scrilli for the moral, Christian and civil education of young girls. On 29 January, 1929, the Institute was erected "of diocesan right". On 27 February, 1933, the religious family was declared "of pontifical right". They arrived in Ramleh in 2005. The spirituality of our Institute is profoundly bound to Carmelite spirituality. Listening, meditation, praying the Word of God, the Eucharist, bear witness to us of the love of Christ and attentiveness to the needs of others. Contemplation and action in our life are harmoniously integrated because it is "leaving God for God".
The small community of the Franciscan Minimal Sisters of the Sacred Heart has been present in Bethlehem at the Sanctuary of the Nativity since 5th May 1977.
This presence is very deeply felt by the sisters due to the deep link between the “cradle of the Word Incarnate” and the mystical experience of their Blessed Founder, Maria Margherita Caiani. The Minimal Sisters help the Fathers carry out their mystery as Custodians of the holy places of the Nativity of the Redeemer through a humble, generous and discreet service, attentive to their needs as fathers and the liturgical life of the Sanctuary.
Supported by the grace and invitation from the founder: "I leave you, my dears, at the cradle of the Divine Infant...", the Minimal Sisters are fulfilled at the thought of working in Bethlehem, humbly continuing the service of Mary to the Child Jesus.
The congregation was founded in France in 1832 by Saint Emilie de Vialar, a young woman of noble origin, who since her earliest age was enraptured by the desire to consecrate her life to God and the service of the needy, independently of race, religion and culture.
This charisma is born from the contemplation of the mystery of the Incarnation : “God loved the world so much that he gave it his Only Begotten Son”. The revelation of this mystery to Joseph (Matthew 1, 20 “Do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home”) and its implication in the life of Mary’s future husband, associates him with the mission for which the Son of God was made Man. This is the reason for the name chosen by St. Emilie for the congregation.
The sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition first arrived in the Holy Land on an invitation of the Franciscans in 1848, six months after the restoration of the Patriarchate in Jerusalem. They were entrusted with the educational mission in the Holy Land schools, which they continue to carry out in Jerusalem and Jaffa.
The Congregation of the Rosary was founded in 1880 in Jerusalem, in the Latin oriental Church, by a young Palestinian of Jerusalem, Mother Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas with the help of the Patriarchate.
The Marian spirituality of the Sisters of the Rosary is characterized by fidelity in prayer, fraternal cooperation, evangelical simplicity, constant sacrifice and service in the territory to the local communities without any discrimination.
In particular, the mission of the congregation is centred on apostolic works in the educational and social field, but also on medical assistance. In Syria, the Sisters of the Rosary offer their service to the Franciscan parish of Ghassanieh - Jisr el-Choughour. The other activities of support for the Custody include the crèche and medical assistance at the Franciscan clinic.
The congregation was founded by Mother Teresa Ewa Potocka in 1862 in Warsaw and is best known for its spiritual co-founder, Sister Helen Kowalska (Saint Faustina), who gave the order the Message of Divine Mercy.
The Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy have been in Jerusalem since 2001 and their presence was encouraged by the Custody of the Holy Land. In Jerusalem the sisters of St. Faustina offer their precious service at the Franciscan Convent of the Flagellation, in the sacristy and in the kitchen. The congregation continues to exercise its spirituality in the Holy Land as well through prayer and the invocation to divine mercy.
In addition, the sisters open the Eucharistic adoration to the faithful every day at the Chapel of the Flagellation and every year, on the first Sunday after Easter, the congregation celebrates the feast-day of mercy, which was shown so well by Jesus in Jerusalem, on Mount Calvary.
It was founded in San Rafael in Argentina. Today the Religious Family is made up of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, the Servants of the Lord and of the Virgin Mary of Matará and of the Third Secular Order.
The charisma of this religious group lies in ennobling through Christ everything that is authentically human. The spirituality is deeply marked by the mystery of the Incarnation, the “first and fundamental mystery of Jesus Christ" and from here there is an attempt to incarnate the Word in everything that is truly human.
The collaboration with the Custody is through various services in different places: in Naim through assistance to pilgrims; in Jaffa the sisters of the Incarnate Word run the primary school and help the friars in the parish and liturgical apostolate; in Bethlehem the sisters help with the liturgies in Arabic and with the catechism according to the needs of the Franciscan religious superiors; a contemplative community lives in Zippori to pray daily for all the members of the Custody of the Holy Land and lastly in Jerusalem a priest of the Incarnate Word teaches philosophy at the Studium Biblicum Francescanum whilst another hears confessions at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.