Pope: Beatification Is Significant for Holy Land

Affirms Merit of Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 22, 2009 (Zenit.org).- From the Vatican, Benedict XVI is joining in the celebration of the Holy Land Christians who attended the beatification ceremony of Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas today in Nazareth.

In an address before praying the midday Angelus today, the Pope noted that "Mother Ghattas" has "the merit" of having founded "a congregation formed solely of women of the region, with the purpose of religious instruction, to overcome illiteracy and improve the conditions of the women of that time in the land where Jesus himself exalted their dignity."

Mother Ghattas was born Soultaneh Maria, as a Palestinian in Jerusalem. She became a co-founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary of Jerusalem.

The Pontiff affirmed, "The beatification of this very significant figure of a woman is of special comfort to the Catholic community in the Holy Land and it is an invitation to always trust, with firm hope, in Divine Providence and Mary's maternal protection."

The beatification ceremony of Sister Maria Alfonsina (1843-1927) was presided over by Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes and special envoy of the Pope to the event, in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.