The Founder

The Patriarch Elias Hwayek (1843-1931)

1843 Born in Hilta.
1851 Joined Saint John Maroun School in Kferhi.
1859 Joined Ghazir seminary.
1866 Was sent to Rome by Patriarch Boulos Massaad to pursue his studies.
1870 Was ordained on the fifth of June.
1870 Obtained his PhD in theology on the ninth of August and came back to Lebanon.
1872 Was nominated secretary of Patriarch Massaad in Bkerké.
1875 The idea of founding an Apostolic Feminine Religious Congregation began to take shape in his mind.
1889 Was consecrated Bishop on the fourteenth of December, Archbishop of honour of Araka and Patriarchal Vicar.
1892 Was sent by the Patriarch to Istanbul and the Sultan greeted him with due honors.
1893 Represented the Patriarch in Rome during the Jubilee celebration of the Great Pontiff. He established in Jerusalem a Patriarchal seat.
1893 Met Mother Rosalie Nasr in Kfifane.
1895 Founded the Congregation of Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family with Mother Rosalie Nasr and Sister Stéphanie Kardouche in Jbeil.
1896 The new Congregation settled in Ebrine.
1896 Went to France accompanying with him his niece, later Mother Josephine, so as to pursue her studies.
1897 Took over the management of the Maronite school in Rome at the request of Pope Leo XIII.
1899 Was elected Patriarch on the sixth of December.
1899 Was informed of Mother Rosalie Nasr's murder on the night of August 22nd -23rd.
1908 Erected the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa on the third of May.
1913 Consecrated the Holy Family Chapel in Ebrine.
1915 Met Jamal Bacha in Sofar.
1916 Ordered the opening of monastery doors for starving persons of the war.
1919 Presented Lebanon in the League of the Nations, claiming independence for Lebanon after wining all Lebanese trust.
1920 In his presence, General Gourot proclaimed the State of Greater Lebanon on the first of September.
1927 Was informed about the death of the Second Superior General, Mother Stephanie Kardouche.
1928 Approved the Constitutions of the Congregation of the Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family.
1931 Published his apostolic letter "The Love of the Homeland". Rested in peace on the twenty-fourth of December, on Christmas Eve.

A few months before his death, he wrote in his last letter to his daughters the sisters:

"Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of all consolation. God Who consoled us by establishing this Congregation and causing it to grow thanks to His particular Providence, lavishing on us the pleasure to see it with our own eyes, working tirelessly so as to satisfy Him and fulfill His Will".

A man of great personality, head and pastor of his Church, sensitive to the needs of the society, constantly listening to his people, so was Patriarch Hwayek whose memories and presence will never fade.

The Co-Founder

Mother Rosalie Nasr and her mandate (1899-1927)

1870 Born in Nazareth in Palestine on the seventh of January, of Orthodox origin.
1885 Joined, for the first time, the Sisters of the Rosary in Jerusalem on the twelfth of December.
1888 Entered effectively there after, fleeing from her paternal home for the second time.
1890 Took her first vows on the first of October.
1891 Accompanied Mother Rosalie to Kfifane where she met Patriarch Elias Hoyek
1895 Took part in the celebration of the Congregation Foundation Mass with Mother Rosalie Nasr in Jbeil on the fifteenth of August.
1899 Took over as Superior of the Congregation on the thirtieth of August for the duration of 28 years, after the murder of the Founder.
1919 Summoned to a General Assembly so as to elect another Superior General. Was unanimously reelected.
1924 Was reelected.
1927 Rested in peace on the fifteenth of March repeating: "Lord, remember Your Love and Your Mercy for they exist in all eternity" (Ps. 25/6).

During her succeeding terms (28 years), Mother Stephanie Kardouche showed iron determination, absolute detachment and sweetness combined, with steadfastness. She founded fifteen houses and schools, welcomed ninety-seven postulants and passed away at the age of fifty-seven. Her double motto was always "God and my Congregation" and "Strongly backed by You Lord, I will never fail".

Mother Josephine Hoyek and her mandate (1927-1961)

1880 Born in Hilta on the fourteenth of September, daughter of SaadallahHoyek, brother of the Founder.
1900 Entered the convent of the Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family.
1901 Took her first vows on the thirty-first of December.
1911 Took her perpetual vows on the twelfth of November.
1919 Was elected General Vicar.
1927 Was elected Superior General for the period of thirty-four years.
1936 Brought the Body of the Founder from Bkerké to the crypt of the Mother House in Ebrine.
1964 Rested in peace on the sixth of February.

Open minded, sweet hearted, Josephine Hoyek, distinguised by a clear vision and a disinterested soul, governed the Congregation during thirty-four years, succeeding Mother Stephanie Kardouche. She founded seventy-three institutions with the Congregation not as yet having reached its seventh decade. She established between hospitals and schools 8 houses in Syria, making sure that each house had its own oratory.

She focused on religious and academic education of the sisters, fostered arts and particularly music. Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Achrafieh, along with its magnificent mural frescos and the crypt of the Mother House, where rests the Founder her uncle since the eight of May 1936, were the greatest achievements that she accomplished with her brother artist Youssef Hoyek's contribution.

She was decorated twice, first time by the President of the Republic Alfred Nakkache and then by President Sheikh Béchara El-Khoury.

Blessed week Let us pray : 

Christians in Africa.

"That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace."

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