Thursday, December 6, 2012

One more door opened!

Another impressive place in the German Colony, on Lloyd George Street, is the big convent of the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo.
Solid, locked gates are always a challenge; but yesterday I gathered my courage and rang the bell of this intriguing place.
No one spoke on the intercom, no one buzzed me in.
I just looked at the top of the ST. CHARLES (GERMAN) HOSPICE gate  and said into space:  "Hello . . . ?"

I tried the door and lo and behold a nun in white was standing there, and she said "Guten Tag."
I asked her about their policy of renting rooms to tourists, in case I have guests in the future.
We went inside to the desk and she gave me a card, told me the rates, and apologized that I could not see the place because renovations are going on now.

Below I offer you information copied from the guest house website.
It is sad to think of the German nuns and monks of Jerusalem having been interned during World War II, here in this convent; but we were a British Mandate then, and the British did what they thought they had to do.
It was in 1893 when the first Sisters came to the Holy Land and opened an infirmary and a dispensary in the German Colony, Jerusalem. These were the beginnings of St. Charles Convent. Apart from nursing the sick and old people, the Sisters took care of orphans and homeless children by offering them shelter and giving them a good education. In 1905 the Sisters could move into their new convent building, the original part of the present St. Charles Convent. In 1934 the first Holy land pilgrims were given accommodation and were offered meals for groups and from this source of income could be financed school, boarding and shelter for poor children.
World War II entailed hard times for the German Convent. All German Sisters in Palestine as well the Benedictines of the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem were interned in St. Charles Convent. In addition, British officers occupied a number of rooms. After the war, the Sisters took on another work of charity; they offered shelter to German Jews who had survived the Holocaust in concentration camps and had emigrated to Israel.
In the years to come St. Charles Convent saw an ever increasing flow of pilgrims who wanted to visit and worship the Lord in Jerusalem, the heart and origin of our Christian faith. The traditional hospitality of the Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo makes their guests feel at home in the peaceful atmosphere of the house and in the friendly and comfortable rooms. Apart from their various activities the Sisters run a kindergarten and a pre-school class in the building next to the convent.

- 50 Rooms
- Full Board
- Dining Room
- Parking also for Buses
- Soft Drinks
- Chapel
- Elevator
- Garden
- Heating
- TV only in Salons
- Public Telephone
- Payment in Cash
(A post added to Toby's Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)


Anonymous said...

How wonderful.

Wish I could visit your city once. Please have a good Friday ahead.

Hels said...

Was the German Colony literally a German speaking suburb of the city? If so, they have kept up the use of German as the daily language from 1893 (when the first Sisters arrived) till today (when they greeted you).

They must have been VERY busy and very dedicated nuns - nursing the sick, taking care of the elderly, looking after orphans and educating homeless children. Great women!

Cloudia said...

another interesting visit. Thanks

Friendly Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

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Petrea Burchard said...

Another one of your (many!) fascinating posts about the diversity and history of Jerusalem. I really enjoyed reading this.

Dina said...

Robert, I hope you can jump over and visit Jerusalem someday. Cloudia and Petrea, you too!

Helen, the Templers founded the German Colony in 1878. I will have to do a good post on that soon and show all their beautiful old buildings with inscriptions in German.
Meanwhile please see

and also

"They were a German sect which founded settlements in Ereẓ Israel in the 19th and 20th centuries. The sect, which had its origin in the Pietist movement, was expelled from the Lutheran Church in 1858 and established itself under the name of Tempelgesellschaft ("Temple Society") as an independent religious community. Its aim was to realize the apocalyptic visions of the prophets of Israel by establishing colonies in the Holy Land."

Reader Wil said...

Thank you Dina, for finding out who those people are and what they are doing! They must be very brave to continue working in Jerusalem after WW II. They did a great job helping the survivors of the holocaust.
Tomorrow Hanukkah begins. So I wish you a time of light and peace and love. Shabbat shalom.

Birdman said...

I get the shudders when I hear a reference to sisters or nuns. My problem... not yours. hahahaha

Dina said...

Wil, good point. Yes, really, chapeau to these nuns.
Shabbat shalom to you too.

Birdman, your shudders must stem from your American childhood in Catholic school. I used to get shudders too, but from collective, not personal, memories. I got cured by going to live as a volunteer at a women's monastic community (albeit Protestant) in Switzerland.

Norma Ruttan said...

what an island of mercy these nuns were! I taught many years with sisters. The Sisters of Notre Dame was the order I liked best. How wonderful that this is not only still there, but still operating.

Hilda said...

I would prefer lodging in a place like this rather than one of those big hotel chains.

Lesley said...

I echo Hilda. I've only had good experiences from any nuns I have met and had good memories of staying at a couple of retreats. Then again, I never went to a Catholic school...

Ralph said...

When built, the building was a testament to the sister's faith. Over time, its uses changed yet the sisters still assist and help in a prayerful way still. It is a beautiful and holy place...

toby said...

How gorgeous - and I had no idea about the history of this building and its residents. Thank you!