Friday, 3 October 2008

The story of an angel

On the feast of the Holy Guardian Angel a special angel for many others has been admitted to heaven. I had the privilege to meet Alice Sahhar and was really impressed by her enthusiasm and dedication towards 'her' boys in the Holy Land. It is always a great joy to have met a modern day saint.
Sadly, Alice passed away in hospital in Jerusalem on Thursday 2nd of October 2008. Our thoughts are with her daughter, Samar, and the children of Bethany who have also lost their mother.
Jeel al-Amal (Generation of Hope) School and Boys Home was founded in 1972 by two Christian Palestinians, Alice and her husband Basil Sahhar in the village of Bethany to the east of Jerusalem. Basil died in 1987 and Alice spent the rest of her days continuing the work. Their daughter, Samar, opened the Lazarus Home for Girls, next door and now, with the death of her mother, will bear much of the responsibility for both homes. There are more than 600 children in the Jeel al Amal primary school and around 80 boys live in the Boys Home. Many are orphans or have endured terrible domestic problems but under the loving care of Alice and Samar the transformations have often been remarkable. The boys come from Jerusalem and from towns and villages in the West Bank.
Life is difficult and trying in Bethany with many restrictions on what we would consider a ‘normal’ way of living. Once a short hop from the Old City, Bethany is now a lengthy detour around the new Israeli security wall. The staff are concerned that when the wall is finished they may no longer have access to Jerusalem. Will pilgrims still be able to visit them? Already it is a longer journey and they are grateful to McCabe parties who make the journey.
While there is little material wealth, the love and devotion of the staff are reflected in the perfect manners and sunny dispositions of the children. Some older boys go on to further education at secondary schools and get jobs which would have been impossible without the help of Jeel. Many have gone on to help their families financially. This can be vital set against the dire economic situation that prevails in the West Bank and Gaza today.The McCabe Educational Trust is committed to the ongoing welfare of the Jeel al Amal Boys Home and the Lazarus Girls Home in Bethany. With your help we will redouble our efforts to give Samar emotional and financial support during this sad time of change and uncertainty. Any donations or letters can be sent via the McCabe office which is at 11 Hillgate Place, Balham Hill, London · SW12 9ER."

A favourite prayer of Alice
If you are caring for others,God cares for you

As you give your life to others, God blesses you
As you pour out your love, God pours His love to you
God bless and guide you, God strengthen and refresh you.
May God give you courage and hope,
So that His dear loving care is revered through you.

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