The Poor Clares Convent where Brother Charles livedThe Poor Clares Convent where Brother Charles lived

From Teresa Quy:

In the month of July, I will have lived here for 48 years. I am happy to be in Nazareth, where Brother Charles has lived. During all these years , the life of Brother Charles has affected me in a very special way. Brother Charles' vocation matured here, and my own vocation has been influenced by his journey. 

From Elena Celia:

The life of Nazareth, in Nazareth, is lit up for me by the word 'presence'.

At work at the hospital, whether among the personnel or the elderly people, the three religions are represented: Christians and Arab Moslems, Jews (mostly Russian). The atmosphere is pleasant and fraternal but I cannot help being aware of the "walls of separation" between each community. My presence tries to be attentive to this people who have lost so much and to whom has been given "in return" a certain comfort, material stability, "progress", but not a true political or cultural identity. This presence would like to be one of solidarity. It brings suffering, which leads to compassion.

From Carla Francesca:

The day-care center where I work, is in a neighborhood where both Christians and Moslems live and quite far from our Community. I help look after the children of about three. I am involved in various activities: dance, drawing, games, little stories, meals... The atmosphere is joyful and so animated that I don't manage to sit down!

The children, their families, my co-workers, the headmistress, the drivers, the girls who come to learn  require all my presence and all my heart.

I like the narrow lanes and roads of Nazareth. I like to go on foot or by bus, because I know that in both cases, I can meet people, learn more about history, a way of living and of being which always remain a gift for me. How can I tell you about the many different faces I meet? And how can I express the beauty of a relationship that is born through the simplest greeting and which does not ask for anything? One day I met three young Moslem women, Izid, Zeinab and Nivine  at the bus stop. I was coming out of work, tired, I did not have the strength to talk, but they were there, fresh, smiling, and I don't know how we found ourselves sitting together, having an interesting conversation about what we do (university, secretariate of a school, hairdresser, day-care center. Yes, those three young ladies told me that the whole meaning of my life here was just that, an encounter.  And so a friendship began...

Christiane Emmanuelle at workChristiane Emmanuelle at work

Christiane Emmanuelle writes:

Since the month of June, I have been going every Wednesday to spend the morning as a volunteer with elderly people at the French hospital, here in Nazareth. It is 5 minutes from our job consists in helping people to feed themselves, to drink sometimes just a glass of water especially when it is very hot, and sometimes other little jobs for those who are more able, or otherwise to play a little memory game. What is important is to be present to these people, to be able to listen. I  never stop being amazed at all I discover through quite simply being there. It requires a lot of tactfulness and being attentive to each one. Many are very wounded by life and now are at the stage of more or less total dependence.

I will try and share about a few of my friends: First, Karime, our great friend, a woman of faith who is mentioned in the early diaries of the foundation of Nazareth. She had met Little sister Magdeleine and Little sister Jeanne. With her husband Jabra, she welcomed and helped the first little sisters, sharing with them their little shop in the souk. How other could those first Sisters earned their living? Sometimes she shares her memories and tells me with a mischievous smile: « I am a little sister ». Her only son, Geries, born after many years of marriage, is now the staff manager of the hospital !

I also want to tell you about Roza, who arrived in the country with other Jews from Russia. I am struck by her big sad eyes that speak more loudly than words.... When I sit beside her, she shares with me many things in Russian, which I do not understand. I answer her in Arabic, which she does not understand.... She caresses my hands softly, I do the same, and we understand each other!

As for Saada, she is a ray of sunshine. Even if she is in a wheelchair, she is always smiling and has a kind word. One day, she was already in bed for her nap and I was walking in the hallway. She called me and said: ‘You know, I am happy when it is Wednesday and you come to spend the morning with us.’ I told her: ‘I am also very happy, Saada.’ She went on: ‘That's it, I called you just to tell you that.’ ‘Thank you, Saada, you truly have the gift of sowing joy around you !’

I am also happy with the bonds created with all the young women who work in that service, who often come from poor families, both Christian and Moslem. Sometimes, an Israeli nurse works with us and the relationship is good between us. Soheir, the service manager told me: ‘You know, this work, I truly do it with my whole heart. If you don't do it with your whole heart, it is not worth it.’ ‘It is true, you are absolutely right, Soheir.’