Following the words of Jesus and the example of Saint Anthony the Great,
we, the Antonine Sisters, leave everything behind to follow God, our sole treasure.
The life that we received from God we give back to Him through service and devotion.
Like Mary, the first consecrated woman, we live joyfully to proclaim the greatness of the Lord
who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.


Christmas 2011

The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; Therefore the child to be born will be holy; He will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1: 35)
... Then Mary said, «I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word». (Luke 1:38)

May the Holy Spirit guide you and the love of God enfold you during this holy season and all the days of your life.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all.
With love and continued prayers from the Antonine Sisters Community in the USA.


100-Year Anniversary!

The clergy and parishioners of Saint Maron Church in Youngstown, Ohio were extremely happy to welcome Most Reverend Robert J. Shaheen, Bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon for their centennial celebration as a Maronite church. A number of local clergy and friends as well as Chorsbishop Dominic Ashkar and Father Anthony Salim, previous pastors of Saint Maron church, joined over 500 parishioners for the special dinner on Saturday December 3, 2011. The attendees enjoyed a variety of delicious Mediterranean and American food and delighted in the special presentations and brief speeches prepared for the evening. Also, a special corner was set up to display antique items that belong to the church as well as old records, pictures and valuable information gathered by the students of the Maronite Christian Formation (MCF)program.  On Sunday morning, the Bishop celebrated Divine Liturgy in an atmosphere of piety and joy. Saint Maron's choir, comprised of the adult and youth choir as well as the Antonine Sisters, contributed greatly to the joy of the celebration with their musical selection. At the end of liturgy, the parishioners released 100 balloons symbolizing the love and prayers of the people sent up to God in heaven. A delicious home-prepared brunch followed to end this historical celebration.


Regional NAM Convention

The Midwest Regional NAM Convention held on November 18, 19, 20, 2011 was sponsored by Saint Maron Parish in Youngstown, Ohio. We were very happy and blessed to be part of this Maronite gathering as we joined the participants in the Ramsho and Safro prayers as well as in the spiritual reflections by Father Claude Franklin of New Castle, PA and Father Tony Massad of Cleveland, OH. On saturday afternoon, we opened our house to welcome the youths and guests who visited the National Shrine of Our Lady Of Lebanon next door. Then in the evening, we attended the special dinner and hafli prepared for the occasion. Congratulations to Joe and Rosa Calabria who received the Silver Massabki Award, and to Zachary Zidian on receiving the Faith of the Mountain Award presented during the celebration. All who attended agreed that it was indeed an enjoyable and productive weekend.


Sharing the Joy

On October 17, 2011 we gladly accepted the invitation of Father Nadim Helou and the Maronite community of Uniontown, PA to join them in welcoming His Beatitude Beshara Peter El-Rai at their parish, Saint George Maronite Church. The celebration of Divine Liturgy was followed by a banquet in honor of His Beatitude. Both clergy and laity expressed joy and excitement at this gathering. May God continue to bless our Church with fervent people and faithful servants.


Patriarchal Visit

Our community traveled to Cleveland, Ohio on Monday October 10, 2011 to meet with our beloved Patriarch Bechara Peter El-Rai, during his pastoral visit to Saint Maron Church in Cleveland. This is the Patriarch's first visit to the United States of America since his enthronement as the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, on Friday March 25, 2011, in Lebanon. During this inaugural visit, the Patriarch is scheduled to visit several parishes and institutions within both Maronite Eparchies: the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon  and the Eparchy of Saint Maron. The Patriarch comes with a message of "love and communion" as he himself explains. In his homily during Divine Liturgy as well as his speech at the Banquet that followed, the Patriarch insisted that war and violence can never solve conflicts; only love and peace can build nations, strengthen people and ensure dignified living to all. He asked the faithful to seek unity amidst pluralism, be one in heart and mind, and keep their love for God and their nation above all other interests or personal gain. As he continues this historical visit, we pray that God may give him the strength to continue to lead with compassion and resolve.


Walk to end Alzheimer's

On October 8, Sister Celine and Sister Cosette joined hundreds of people at the Boardman Park, OH to participate at the local Walk to end Alzheimer's. A team of nine people represented the Antonine Sisters Adult Day Care Center at this important event that raises awareness for this devastating disease which affects millions of Americans. The walk is also a major fundraiser for the Alzheimer's Association which provides free services to affected individuals and their families and is a leading sponsor to Alzheimer's Research. With the help of generous friends and co-workers, our team was able to raise over $300.00 to support this good cause.


Maronite Christian Formation

On Sunday September 11, we started the 2011-2012 Maronite Christian Formation (MCF) program at Saint Maron Church in Youngstown, Ohio. The joy and excitment is quite contagious this year which marks the 100-Year Anniversary of our parish. Sister Celine Nohra, Director of Religious Education (DRE), along with the MCF committee have planned a series of special events that commemorate this unique occasion. All the activities are aimed at increasing the love that our kids have for their church, and to realize the abundance of God's blessing on each individual member and family that belong to Saint Maron Church. The sisters and a dedicated team of volunteer teachers are working hard to make this celebration a great one for all the kids.


Annual Assumption Pilgrimmage

Each year, we look forward to celebrating the Assumption Pilgrimmage at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon. This year, even more people agreed that the ambiance was deeply spiritual and that God's presence was manifested in many ways. Throughout the three pilgrimage days (August 13, 14, 15), pilgrims and visitors participated in the talks, rosary prayers, prayer services and confessions planned for the event and each night the crowds gathered and prayed for Our Lady's intercession. May Her intercession remain with us as we pray: Our Lady of Lebanon, pray for us!


48th Annual National Maronite Convention

The 2011 Maronite Convention was hosted by Saint Sharbel Church in Philadelphia, PA. It attracted a large number of Maronites from all over the country and is believed to be one of the most attended conventions. Our two sisters Marie Madeleine and Cosette along with Sister Dominique Halabi, who is visiting from Lebanon, were able to join this Maronite gathering. They were glad to see many of the clergy, reunite with old friends, meet new ones, tour briefly in the city and participate in the prayerful and social gatherings planned for the event.


Maronite Youth Workshop in PA

The 2011 National Maronite Youth Workshop took place the last week of June at Saint Vincent's College in Latrobe, PA. Sister Celine Nohra, a member of the organizing team, joined over 200 youths and 50 young adults for that special event. The workshop's discussions, reflections and activities centered around the "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" theme. The week was a combination of spiritual and fun activities which promoted a strong sense of frienship and respect among the youths and adults who were gathered. The presence of the Most Reverend Gregory J. Mansour, Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, had a strong impact on the youths who expressed their love for their bishops and for their church. Sister Celine considered it a blessing to be part of this event and to see the youths dedicate time to building a stronger relationship with God. "There are wonderful signs of health and life in our Maronite church" she says, "and I thank God for all the priests and adults involved in this workshop. Just watching them work and pray with and for our youths is a powerful indication that God is at work!".



Congratulations to our Sister Kawsar Choufani who graduated from Youngstown State University with a Master's Degree in Business Administration. We are proud of our sister's achievement. May the Lord bless her with continued success.


Happy Easter

We wish all our families, friends and benefactors a very blessed Easter.

"Blessed be your passion, O Lord, For our salvation. Blessed be your humiliation for our sake.
Let us bear suffering with your sufferings and let us rejoice in your resurrection."

(Taken from the Mazmooro of the Maronite Divine Liturgy during Passion Week).


On Mission in Virginia!

Sister Marie Madeleine Iskandar and Sister Celine Nohra traveled to Glen allen, VA on Friday April 1. Msgr. George Sebaali and Mrs. Cathy George from Saint Anthony's Maronite Church invited Sister Madeleine to be the retreat master for a one-day women's retreat, and Sister Celine to be the speaker for the regional MYO retreat held at the parish. Sister Madeleine discussed purity of heart with the ladies and how to be obedient to the word of God in every day life. The Maronite youth reflected with Sister Celine on the meaning of having a friendship with God and how to be true friends to God and others. Real friendship, they found out, requires having a positive image of one's self, of God and of the other person. They enjoyed their time together as well as all the spiritual and fun activities prepared for them. Local youth advisors, Cathy George, Carmen Dailey and Mike Maynes assisted with group discussions and games. They were instrumental in ensuring that the weekend and program went smoothly for all the participating youths. Msgr. George Sebaali celebrated the closing liturgy on Sunday morning. The youths left knowing that, as friends of God, they are called to be the image of God in the world by making good choices and helping others to come closer to Jesus as did the four friends of the paralyzed man.


Religious Gathering

Our community joined several other religious for the Diocese of Youngstown Religious Jubilee Celebration last week. The afternoon started with an informal gathering for registration and refreshments followed by a presentation by Sister Rita Mary Harwood, SND. By sharing stories from her own religious life and experience, Sister Rita Mary stated that the life of each religious sings of the faithfulness of the Lord and that all that God requires is sufficient love and trust on our part to complete the journey. The celebration concluded with Divine Liturgy, with Bishop George Murry, S.J. presiding. Bishop Murry thanked all the jubilarians for their commitment to loving and serving our Lord and he invited all the faithful to increase their prayers for vocations to priesthood, religious life and the deaconate.


The Holy Season of Lent

Today, our Maronite Catholic Church starts the season of Great lent. As it has been the tradition, it is a season of fasting, praying and almsgiving, a time and an opportunity for the soul to come closer to God, its creator. As our community begins its lenten journey, we pray that this may be a season of holiness and grace pleasing to God. May it bring light into the darkness of our world. May our prayers and sacrifices be for the glory of God who gives strength to the faithful and salvation to the souls in need. To God be glory for ever. Amen.  
"Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of laziness, discouragement, love of power and idle talk.
Instead grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of purity, humility, patience and love. Yes, Lord and King, grant me the grace to be aware of my own sins and refrain from judging others; for You are blessed forever. Amen." (Lenten Prayer, Saint Ephrem the Syriac)


MYO Regional Workshop

Three of us joined over 150 youths and advisors for the MYO Regional Workshop at Saint Sharbel Church in Michigan this past weekend. The workshop's talks, sessions, activities and prayers centered around the theme "Rooted in Christ". Father Gary George, youth office director, presented a talk on Internet use while Father Tony Massad and Deacon William George discussed relationships. Sister Celine and a couple youth advisors led a talk on spirituality and how to enhance one's spiritual life. The youths, grouped according to age, showed genuine interest in the discussions and interacted well with the speakers. There was a time for prayer, a time for learning and a time for having fun. We sure hope that our youths went back home with enough spiritual nourishment to last them throughout the year.


Saint Maron's Celebration

On Sunday February 13, our parish at Saint Maron Church in Youngstown, Ohio celebrated its 100th anniversary kick-off. Parishioners filled the church participating in a special liturgy organized by Sister Celine, DRE, and the MCF committee. Excited MCF students processed in with the clergy and altar servers carrying banners, frames, crosses and other articles or wearing T-shirts that they designed especially for this event. For weeks, the sisters, MCF staff and students have been preparing for this celebration. The Ladies Guild prepared a delicious lunch following liturgy and beautifully decorated the hall which was packed with family and friends enjoying the variety of food. As our wholehearted pastor Chorbishop Mike Kail mentioned in his homily, we have so many blessings and reasons to celebrate: the 1600th anniversary for Saint Maron, the 100th anniversary of our local church, the gift of the living and deceased priests who served our parish and that of our ancestors who built a great legacy by trusting God and supporting their priests. And here we are today, growing in number but also in wisdom and belief, transferring our faith and values to the next generation who will carry on with the Spirit of Maron and the same zeal for as long as God wills.  


A Life of Service

February 2, 2011 is the World Day for Consecrated Life. The article below is dedicated in honor of Sister Claudette Bou Saade, a member of our Antonine community. It is a humble celebration of the beauty of her life totally consecrated to God. May God continue to inspire women and men to serve him with a generous and undivided heart through religious life.

“Good morning” I said smiling to her but the look on her face indicated something was wrong. “My brother died” she replied holding her tears back. During Morning Prayer I glanced over her way catching silent tears streaming down her cheeks. At the end of prayer, I saw her wipe those tears away and get ready to serve yet again for another day.
Sister Claudette is convinced that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers nor height, nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 38-39). I look at her face and I cannot help but think of Mother Teresa’s, whose every crease symbolizes a story of love shared, of faith lived, and of hope built and kept. Like most women, Sister Claudette does not like to reveal her age, and to respect her wishes I will not disclose it either. Age, to her, means absolutely nothing; it is “life” that counts. She truthfully sees life as an absolute gift from God and thus holds it with great esteem. She knows how to admire beauty around her, the beauty of people and that of things. When in awe, her face lights up like that of a little child unwrapping her favorite present. “How beautiful!” she would say pointing out a flower, a bird, a tree or a baby. Likewise, she recognizes good work and eagerly praises someone else’s efforts.
Sister Claudette is also distinguished by her hospitality. It is true that both her Antonine Spirituality and Lebanese background inspire her to be welcoming like she is. Her Hospitality extends however beyond being generous in her greeting and offering of goodies. Regardless of how notable the visitor may or may not be, she takes time to welcome, listen and be present to that person. “Honoring your guest is a Gospel virtue,” she repeats, “you must take care of your visitors and make sure they are comfortable”.
Besides the traits mentioned above, Sister Claudette has a sharp sense of wit that contributes greatly to the fun and laughter we have as a community. Our family life as Antonine Sisters would not be the same without her. I am not trying to make it sound like Sister Claudette is perfect for she would not want to give that impression either. I am just trying to imitate one of her qualities which is admiring the work of God in his creature and appreciating the response of the creature to her God. After so many years of steadfast service to God and to the Church, I can only imagine God smiling down on her, she who portrays his love in one of the most compassionate forms I am fortunate enough to see.
When you love Christ so much that even the death of your brother cannot keep you from serving those whom Christ died for, and when you are secretly mourning in your heart and you still manage to give a smile to ease someone else’s pain, I believe that people deserve to hear about your faith. It was Jesus who said: “No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

By Sister Celine Nohra


Antonine Feastday

January 17 is the Feastday of Saint Anthony the Great, the patron saint of the Antonine Order of religious women and men. Every year for this feast, the Antonine communities celebrate throughout the world by getting together for worship and fellowship. The Divine Liturgy is celebrated for the intentions of all the order's members and benefactors. During liturgy, a spiritual renewal of vows takes place where each member renews her personal commitment to God through the Antonine constitution.
Here in North Jackson, we celebrated on Saturday January 15, in unity with the majority of the members and the general council of our order who were celebrating at the Mother House in Roumieh, Lebanon. As usual, we started our day with the prayer of the Divine Office followed by a profound reflection on "Seeking the Face of God" by Father Nadim Helou, pastor of Saint George Maronite Church in Uniontown, PA. After adoration, confessions, and the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, we were joined for lunch by Chorbishop Michael Kail, Pastor of Saint Maron Church in Youngstown, OH and by Monsignor Anthony Spinosa, Rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in North Jackson, OH.

Traditional Text for the Spiritual Renewal of Our Vows:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
In the presence of the Holy Trinity, the blessed Mother of God, Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint Anthony the Great, and all the angels and saints, I renew my vows of obedience, chastity and poverty and I promise to keep them according to the constitution of our congregation, by God’s grace, the protection of the Blessed Virgin, Saint Joseph and our father Saint Anthony the Great. Amen.



We invite you to check out our latest newsletter which features the sisters in the various ministries with the older adults and those with physical and mental disabilities.
Starting with a special message from our director, Sister Marie Madeleine Iskandar, we take you on a brief and exciting journey of the latest happenings at our Adult Day Care center.
Click on the "Summer/Fall 2010" link under Newsletters!