Capuchin Presence in Jerusalem
In the Land of Jesus
The Talbiye district in Jerusalem, where the Capuchin Monastery is located, is very close to the old city’s center, about a 20 minute walk from the Holy Sepulcher. It features many very fine buildings, most of which were built using the typical local white stone. It is in a Jewish area, considered one of the prime areas in Jerusalem, with parks, playgrounds, walkways and places for exercise. The plot of land on which the monastery is situated was first purchased by the Capuchins in 1931 and finalized with the signature of Blessed Jacob of Ghazir in 1932. A “domus religiosa” and a college were to be built on the plot of land, offering a place where Capuchin friars could specialize in Bible study. The church and the monastery were completed in 1937, but were immediately requisitioned by the British authorities for military purposes, who occupied the premises until 1948. From 1948 to 1999 the building was occupied by the new state of Israel, which turned it into a psychiatric clinic. It wasn’t until 1999, after a long and arduous period of ups and downs, that the entire property was handed back to the Capuchin friars. The monastery underwent a renewal during the years 2007-2010 when it became a center for spirituality and Biblical training.
The Capuchin Monastery in Jerusalem today sits on about five acres of land. Known for its silence and serenity, the Monastery is an ideal place for spiritual recollection. It includes:
- “I am the Light of the World”: a center for spirituality in which the friary takes up one wing. The campus is endowed with sprawling walking paths, beautiful gardens featuring varieties of flowers and hedges, a vegetable garden, a vineyard, fruit trees and huge pine trees.
- Other religious congregations: there are three additional communities that live on our campus independent of us: the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist (three sisters); the Ursuline Sisters (three sisters), and two priests of the Giuseppe Dossetti congregation.
- Collaboration with the Latin Patriarchate: we provide space and buildings for four distinct projects –St. Rachael, which provides child care for migrant workers, --Guardian Angels for children of broken families or single parents in crisis, --Sts. Martha and Maria for religious or people discerning a vocation who help out in the above projects, --the fourth project is in the process of development.
Today the Monastery falls directly under the care of the General Minister, and the fraternity is international. There are friars from provinces all over the world: including several provinces of India, as well as Zimbabwe, Italy and Mexico.
A few of the brothers look after the running of the center and the fraternity, others are students of Biblical studies and still others minister to Israel’s Indian migrant workers in Konkani and Malayalam.
The Monastery is also a place for ongoing formation in the Order. The General Secretary for Formation conducts a one month course in three distinct groups: one in Italian, one in Spanish and Portuguese and one in English and French.
The CENOC (Conferentia Europae Nordico-Occidentalis Capuccinorum) regional conference brings their post-novitiate friars in formation annually for ten days in preparation for their final profession.
Other Capuchin friars come and stay with us here for sabbaticals, retreats, to teach seminars, etc. Some also come with their own groups to conduct retreats, spiritual exercises or just to participate in special liturgical celebrations or to pray and be with the Lord at the many holy sites.
The center of spirituality is called “I am the light of the World”. It is utilized by bishops, priests, seminarians and other religious for sabbaticals, studies, short courses and spiritual exercises. The Monastery, however, is not for pilgrim groups.
The facility has been used for recollections by the Salesian and Friars Minor students of theology, pastoral workers in Israel, African religious in Israel, Hebrew speaking Catholics, etc. The center has 26 rooms of which there are seven single rooms, eleven double, two triple and six can accommodate four occupants each; altogether there are 59 beds. All rooms are en suite (with private bath), spacious, well furnished and individually temperature controlled. The Church is spacious, beautiful, modern and combines our Jewish background with thought provoking Christian art. Within the church there is a lovely chapel where the brothers celebrate Liturgy twice daily.
The refectory can comfortably seat sixty people. The “mini” library and sitting room affords our guests ample space for discussions in smaller groups. The larger hall can hold about a hundred people.
You are most welcome to visit the Capuchins in Jerusalem, and to book your spiritual recollections, retreats, etc. Please send an email to [email protected]. We hope to see you soon! May the Lord bless you abundantly now and always.
- Capuchin Monastery in Jerusalem - presentation
- Capuchins in Jerusalem - interview in Italian
- Capuchins in Jerusalem - interview in English