October 2013

The story of Peter and Farida: helping a family means helping the small Christian community in Jerusalem

It’s a wonderful story of affinity between two pairs of spouses, one from Italy and one from Jerusalem, who do not even know each another. Marisa and Francesco tell us that, on their 50th wedding anniversary together with their children, grandchildren and relatives, they remembered their brothers in the Holy Land and decided to give a generous donation to a family in Jerusalem.

Thanks to them, the technical office of the Custody of the Holy Land was able to help Peter and Farida, a couple who had just celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary. Their home is located in a compound known as “Dar el kbir”, in front of the eighth station in Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem and, until now, the elderly couple’s only bathroom was on the other side of the courtyard. “We are both in ill-health, says Mrs Ballouta, and are so very grateful to the Franciscans and the Italian family for their work, because now we don’t have to go outside to use the bathroom anymore. It was very inconvenient, especially in winter or when it was raining”.

The “Dar el kbir” compound is an original and historic example of social housing, built in the late 800s by the Franciscans. At that time, housing was built in this way, with bathrooms outside shared between numerous homes. Today, most of the flats have been refurbished and have a bathroom inside; Peter and Farida’s was one of the last, and workers from the Custody’s technical office, involved in the “Jerusalem, Stones of Memory” project, have also repaired the sewerage system in the residence in recent weeks, which, like many others in the Old City, was in very bad condition.

Peter’s family is in fact one of 400 helped by the Custody of the Holy Land, who takes care of the maintenance and restructuring costs. Helping one of these families means helping the small Christian community in Jerusalem to survive, maintain their ties with this Holy City and act as a living presence around the Places of Revelation. For this reason, ATS pro Terra Sancta continues to call on the generosity of all, so that the precious part of the Holy Land that is the Christian community can continue to live here and testify to their faith.


share facebook twitter google pinterest print send
related stories

A house for the Christians in the Holy Land (April 2017)

Supporting the Christian presence in the Old City of Jerusalem: a building restored (April 2015)

Video: Life in the Old City of Jerusalem (April 2015)

“What have I accomplished here?”: the testimony of Alice, a volunteer in Jerusalem (January 2015)

Inauguration of the new Monastery of St. Francis ad Coenaculum (October 2014)

New work for the team of workers in the Old City of Jerusalem: the mission of the Custody of the Holy Land is renewed as a sign of continuity (September 2014)

Our House in Jerusalem and Bethlehem (July 2014)

Four new apartments have been finished for the Arab Christian community in Jerusalem: The Living Stones of Memory (June 2014)

“I want to live here where Jesus lived: the Christian voices of the Old City of Jerusalem (June 2014)

A new look for the Church chancel and vestry at Bethphage Sanctuary (May 2014)

St John’s Sanctuary in Ain Karen: work to build a new welcome room for pilgrims (April 2014)

Claudia Koll supports ATS pro Terra Sancta with the Living Stones of Jerusalem project (January 2014)

A month in the Old City of Jerusalem helping Christian families: “a unique experience” (August 2013)

The project “Housing and Social Emergency in the Old City of Jerusalem” comes to an end: here are the results (July 2013)

The workers on the project “Jerusalem, Stones of Memory” in action in Nazareth (July 2013)

“Jerusalem, Stones of Memory” and Feras’ story (April 2013)

Holy Sepulchre: Extraordinary maintenance work at the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament (March 2013)

A little present from Marseilles for the families at the Christian quarter in Jerusalem (February 2013)

The St. Francis Ad Coenaculum monastery reopens to pilgrims (February 2013)

Jerusalem, Stones of Memory (November 2012)