On 26th May, nineteen young religious women from Bolivia, the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, made their solemn profession as Franciscan Tertiary Daughters of St Elizabeth in the Church of St Saviour in Jerusalem.
"Today nineteen sisters consecrate for once and for all their love for the Lord,” said the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, introducing the Eucharistic celebration, "It is a day of celebration for the Church and an occasion for us to accompany them with our prayer and entrust them to the Lord and to the Holy Spirit." In the comment to the Scripture, the Custos Father went into further detail on the topic of this day of celebration, starting from the typical nuptial rite of handing over the ring with the words "Bride of the eternal King, receive the nuptial ring and keep your fidelity to your Groom whole so that he can welcome you into the joy of eternal marriage.” It was a moving moment for the religious who took part in the celebration with attention and incredulity: most of them said they had never thought that they would have the chance to visit the Holy Land and make their solemn profession in these places.
Founded 131 years ago in Casalino, a small village in the province of Arezzo in the Diocese of Fiesole (Tuscany, Italy),since then the Franciscan Tertiary Daughters of Elizabeth have taken care and been at the service of the poor, they have educated children, given assistance to the sick and supported families. The founder, Francesca Casciwas a Franciscan Tertiary while the co-founder, Don Giuseppe Marchi, who was a parish priest, became a friar of Camaldoliwith the name of Pier Damiano. The institution was originally created to serve only the area of the Upper Casentino, but in 1923 they obtained the possibility of expanding their radius of action, remaining faithful to the initial spirit, i.e. privileging small communities with a family style. In 1994, the first missions were opened in Asia, starting with India, Indonesia and the Philippines, where an International Training Centre was also founded in Manila, which currently has more than one hundred simple professed religious. Present in Jerusalemfor almost three years, the Congregation has placed the sisters available locally at the disposal of the Custody for various services connected to it.
"Making the perpetual Professions in Jerusalem is a great gift,” said the Superior General, Mother Paola YucraSolano, “we usually make the simple Professions in the training centres, making the solemn ones in Italy, the place of the foundation and the place we all look towards. Making it in Jerusalem is a dream that has come true after 131 years, as well as an appreciation of the presence and fine work that our sisters are doing here.”