Sister Suzanne from Lebanon is spending more than six weeks with the ABC family to improve her conversational English. Various people have hosted her and helped her experience LA by taking her to a Dodgers game, Disneyland, Olvera Street, Huntington Gardens, etc. In the process, we have all been blessed by her warm personality, her quick wit and her unique expression of Christian faith. Here is a personal experience she shared with us.
My decision to become a nun was made carefully over a number of years. Every step in the process was another confirmation that this was God’s will for me. Finally, in 2013 I got to the point of taking my final vows. The date would normally be scheduled for the first week in September, but this would create a conflict with a family wedding. I asked Mother Superior if it would be possible to have the ceremony the last week of August instead, and she agreed to make the change.
In our tradition, preparation for the final vows involves two months of spiritual retreat, practicing quietness, prayers and personal meditation. This was very meaningful to me in confirming my decision to become a nun. However, during the last few days, I found myself crying a lot, and I couldn’t understand why. It was more emotional than I expected it to be.
Two days before the vow ceremony, my parents made the trip from my hometown of Maaloula, a Christian village which is in Syria, just across the border from Lebanon. The ceremony was beautiful and inspiring. Afterward, I enjoyed the love of my family for the next few days we had together.
Then the terrible news came that jihadist terrorists had attacked the checkpoint at Maaloula, had blown up the historic gate, had killed a number of Syrian soldiers and were firing on nearby homes. The closest home to the gate, only about 200 feet away, was my parents’ house. The jihadists targeted their house just because my mother had brought food to soldiers at the base. They found no one home, because my parents were visiting Lebanon for my vow ceremony, but they stole everything that had any value, destroyed furniture and artwork and put bullet holes in all the walls. You can watch all these things as they happen in a propaganda video made by the jihadists bragging about their victory. My family’s home can be seen in the foreground just after the two-minute point in the video.
I take this deliverance as a sign from God that he loves me and has called me to serve him. My parents were saved from death because they came to witness my final vows. The change in date was also part of my miracle. I believe my tears during the days before came from a sense in my soul that something bad was about to happen, but that God had control of it. All of this gave me an assurance that God was watching over me and that he would continue to take care of me and my family.
Syria has retaken Maaloula, and it is secure under government control. My parents have returned to repair the house and make it the family home again. Maaloula is once more a Christian town and the only remaining place in the world where people speak Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke when he walked on this earth.
As for me, I look forward to a life doing what God has called me to do, helping to educate the next generation of young people, being a spiritual encourager to people going through stress and trauma and, at the same time, studying toward a PhD in Philosophy (thesis topic: “The Anthropology of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI”) so that I can teach on the university level.
I thank God for my miracle that day in 2013.
— Sister Suzanne Wakim
Sister Suzanne will be with us until August 30. Thanks to many of you, she has had many LA experience. There are still opportunities to host her for an evening or take her on a day trip. Contact Pastor George to discuss ideas you may have. We’ve decided to have a relaxed evening for her to tell us about herself, her family, her work and her life goals. We’ve scheduled this for Sunday, August 26, 7:00 pm, at the home of Karen and Loren Roberts