With the presence of a limited number of staff members and friends of Caritas Baby Hospital (CBH), Bishop Giacinto Paul Marcuzzo held a Holy Mass on Wednesday, 23 December, on the occasion of Christmas and a farewell to the Franciscan Elizabethan Sisters who concluded their service in the hospital and the Holy Land.
The mass was followed by a ceremony in honor of the nuns, where Bishop Marcuzzo, on behalf of His Beatitude Pierre Battista Pizzaballa, gave a speech in which he praised the role of the nuns in spreading the message of love and peace called for by Jesus Christ. The Bishop also awarded the Franciscan Elizabethan Sisters with an insignia of the Holy Sepulcher in recognition of their service to the Palestinian community for over four decades.
In his speech, CEO Issa Bandak, stated: “The nuns are considered to be the soul of the hospital and an important part of its identity. We learned a lot from them, as their presence played a major role in improving medical and nursing services for our sick children.”
In the speech of the Order, Sister Lucia Corradin confessed: “It is not easy to give voice to the feelings that live in us at this moment, knowing that we are the last link in a 45-year long chain of presence in this hospital.
There are faces, relationships, events, and situations that have built our history and that we will take with us, as unforgettable experience of love, joy, friendship and real communion. We are immensely grateful for the special gift received by God in serving Him here in Bethlehem and taking care of poor or sick children. Such beautiful mission”.
The Franciscan Elizabethan Sisters of Padua had responded to the call of the founder of CBH, Father Ernst Schnydrig, to serve sick children in Bethlehem and Palestine in 1975. To this day, twenty-six nuns have served in CBH and the Holy Land. Sr. Lucia Corradin, Sr. Erika Nobs and Sr. Gemmalisa Mezzaro will leave to their homeland, Italy, early next year to be the last of the monastic sisters in the region.