Community of Bethlehem: Community
“They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.” (Matthew 2:10)
Bethlehem is first and foremost the birthplace of Jesus, and Mariam wanted our Carmel to be dedicated especially to contemplate and honor the mystery of the Incarnation and the poverty and childhood of Jesus.
The spiritual message of the One who is above all the Son wants to draw everyone to himself to become what we are: beloved sons and daughters of the Father. To live here as Carmelites is to welcome in prayer this heritage so that it can bear all its fruit on this earth, sown with hope at the very heart of all its lacerations. It is also to enter into this mystery of the poverty and spiritual childhood of the Son to become in him “the home of peace and joy” for all men of good will.
In this blessed city of Bethlehem where the ringing of bells blends with the chants from the muezzins; with the mountains of Moab far away, the story of Ruth and Naomi, Mount Nebo and Moses; the depression of the Jordan and the Dead Sea, Jericho, the prophet Elijah on the way to Horeb, Jerusalem close at hand… all these biblical and evangelical remembrances are like a seed cast into the ground, a history of salvation because here God bound himself forever to our humanity.
And how can we not unite with the full strength of our prayer all these destinies to offer them to the One who is the Prince of Peace so that he reigns in all hearts, our community becoming thus like an echo of “Glory to God on the highest and on earth peace to men of good will” as sung by the angels on the first night of Christmas.
At present our community has 15 sisters from different countries: France, Madagascar, the Philippines, Poland, United States, Chile and Bethlehem. The international community reflects the situation of the Church in the Holy Land: its richness and harmony in diversity, and also its small size.