Help Egypt’s church fill the poor with hope Please reach out today www.egyptcnewa.org school. Sister Therese works as a nurse. Sister Esther teaches catechism. Sister Charlotte takes care of the finances for both the dispensary and the sisters’ nearby school. They begin their day early: At 6 a.m., they gather for a collective prayer and meditation, followed by Mass and taking breakfast. After that, each goes to her work, nourished. Sister Simone holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and a master’s in hospital management. A native of Alexandria, she entered the novitiate of the Daughters of Charity in Lebanon in 1966. After serving in Lebanon for more than 40 years, she returned to her beloved home city, but it was not the same Alexandria she had left. “I was born in Alexandria during the monarchy era. The city was beautiful and clean.” After the revolution, she says, the city began to deteriorate. Over the course of a decade, spurred in part by nationalizations and the Suez Crisis,
Europeans and others departed en masse, taking a great deal of wealth with them. “When I returned back in 2008 it was even worse,” she continues. “I feel that there is all the more need for our service, because poverty here is greater.” Yet, she says, even as the city has changed, her feelings about it have not. “In my eye, Alexandria remains beautiful because it is my home, where I was born and grew up. I prefer it more than any other place.” Sister Therese entered the community 20 years ago. She moved to Alexandria seven years back to serve as a nurse in the dispensary. Prior to her service in Alexandria, she served in Qusiya and Port Said. “In Upper Egypt, poverty is more obvious,” Sister Therese says. “I lived with the poor; my convent was as their house and their street was as my house.” The sisters in Qusiya serve the poor through many programs and
Sister Simone greets patients in the waiting room of the dispensary.
initiatives — such as teaching craft skills to women. “Women from all villages around us in Qusiya were coming to learn knitting and sewing,” Sister Therese says. “We helped them to buy sewing machines, so they have a profession to help them earn a living.” Most of these students, she adds, were Muslim. “The families feel safe to send their daughters to us.” In the Saba Banat dispensary, Sister Therese provides whatever nursing assistance is needed, but mostly works at the clinic with ear, nose and throat patients. Sister Eman has worked in education since committing to religious life 22 years ago. She moved among the various schools of the Daughters of Charity until she settled, six years ago, into St. Vincent de Paul School in Alexandria.
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