Set on a hill in the high ground that surrounds Bethlehem, the Antonian Charitable Society building is one of those hidden but appealing oases of the city in which Jesus was born. The facility is home to lodgings for the elderly and, close by, a small refuge. It is in this setting, with a view to sharing and solidarity, that the Association pro Terra Sancta has just opened the Baby Jesus Guest House to welcome pilgrims visiting the place in which God became a man.
The idea is to invite those passing through this land, welcoming but suffering, to meet and get to know not only the stones of the churches and basilicas, but also the “living stones”, the Christians of the Holy Land. “We have ten rooms, each with a private bathroom, and we can welcome up to 25 people,” says Eli, one of the volunteers taking care of managing the guest house. “This isn’t just a place to stay, says Giusy, the other volunteer working at the guest house, it is a chance to put oneself to the test, to confront a difficult reality such as that of the elderly in Bethlehem and provide support, but it is also a spiritual experience. There is a chapel for prayer and meditation”.
Choosing this guest house as a place to lay your head means contributing to the project “Bethlehem and elderly people in the Holy Land”, getting to know the situation in which the elderly live in Bethlehem and, for those who wish to, taking a little time out to offer help directly. The elderly people of the Antonian Charitable Society who live in the same complex as the guest house are often alone, abandoned and without the necessary means.
Thanks to the support of the Association pro Terra Sancta and of many friends and donors, they can lead a dignified life and spend this part of it in peace. We invite all friends of pro Terra Sancta to come and experience this journey and pilgrimage, but also to immerse themselves in the local reality, in order to return with baggage enriched not only by the trip, but also by this powerful life experience.