St. John the Baptist from Ein Karem

“…A voice of one that cries in the desert: Prepare a way for the Lord. Make his paths straight!” Jn 1,23

“John the Baptist the precursor, he was a prophet, a patriarch, an anchorite, an apostle, a martyr, a confessor. He is an example of holiness and he showed us the perfection of the saints.
He has been providentially chosen as your Patron. It gives me the hope that you are called to be great saints. You can fulfill this hope!” Father Theodore

Our first feast of John the Baptist as novices has been full of joy, hope and prayer. Here in Ein Karem, the place where according to the tradition, John was born. All its surroundings celebrated with us this amazing feast. Our Ein Karem communities were united with us for this special feast.

This week in the community prayer we prayed with some messages about our Patron. These messages have been written by Father Theodore who wrote them for the novices. Also, last Saturday we had a desert morning reflection about him and his journey.

The celebration of the feast began on Thursday 23rd evening. The Contemplatives and the Apostolic Sisters, the brothers, the associates and our volunteer from Poland prepared a special prayer for us.

After the prayer we had a joyful and tasty menu. Saint John the Baptist is also the Patron of Brazil; therefore, we celebrated our feast having the pleasure to taste a variety of Brazilian food prepared mainly of corn. We had a fire where people could prepare their own corn, sausage or marshmallow.

Beside the delicious food, we enjoyed a traditional Brazilian dance called Quadrille. In order, to dance it people had to dress themselves like farmers. We were very happy and thankful with all the NDS communities who really worked hard to give us this wonderful evening.

On Friday 24th, our novitiate community prepared a nice breakfast for us. For this feast one of the customs is to use decorations of locust and honey in honor to Saint John Baptist, who ate locust and honey in the desert. For that reason, each novice received a creative card with a drawing of a locust on it. Every locus has a picture with the face of each one. We received also the honey. The honey was a gift from the Contemplatives sisters.

Then at 10:30am we went to the parish church “Saint John Baptist”. It was a blessing for us to share the mass at this special church in the feast of this great saint.

After the mass, we went to the house to continue our celebration having our lunch. Finally, we went to the village for an ice cream in the afternoon.

We finished the day with our community prayer giving thanks to the Lord for this feast and for all people around the world who showed us their love and prayers. The Lord bless all of you.

Nancy Mena Fernández NDS, Novice
Congregational Novitiate Ein Karem, Jerusalem
June 25th 2016