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Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne

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AlphonseS

Bust of Marie Alphonse Ratisbonne at Ratisbonne Monastery, Jerusalem

Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne (May 1, 1814, Strasbourg, France - May 6, 1884, Ein Karem, Jerusalem) was a French Jew who converted to Catholicism and became a Jesuit Catholic priest and missionary.

Biography

Alphonse Ratisbonne was born to Auguste and Adelaide (Cerfbeer) Ratisbonne, [1]a family of Jewish bankers in Strasbourg, Alsace-Lorraine. His father was the president of the Consistoire of Alsace. [2] Alphonse was the youngest of nine children. When his brother Theodore converted to Catholicism and was ostracized by the family, Alphonse renounced religion as a whole. [3]

Religious conversion

After studying law in Paris, Alphonse joined the family bank and announced his engagement to his 16-year old niece. In January 1842, before the marriage took place, he traveled to Rome for a pleasure trip. On January 20, eleven days after a powerful religious experience in which a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared before him at the Church of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte, he converted to Catholicism.[4] At his baptism, he added Marie to his name. In June 1842, he entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained as a priest in 1848.

Missionary work

Ratisbonne's tomb

Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne's tomb in Ein Keram

In 1850 he engaged in mission work among convicts in Brest. Two years later, with authorization of the Jesuit Superior General, Jan Philipp Roothaan, and the blessing of Pope Pius IX [5] he left the Society of Jesus to join his brother Théodore and the 'Pères de Sion' in Paris. In 1855, he moved to Palestine where he spent the rest of his life. [6] In 1858, he established the Convent of Ecce Homo in the Old City of Jerusalem for the Sisters of Sion. [7] In 1860, he built the Convent of St. John on a hilltop in Ein Karem, then a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem. In 1874, he founded the Ratisbonne Monastery, now a Salesian study center in Jerusalem's Rehavia neighborhood.[8] Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne died in Ein Karem on May 6, 1884 and is buried in the cemetery of that convent.

Published work

  • Monument à la gloire de Marie (1847)[9]

Bibliography

  • MONDESERT, Claude: Théodore et Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne, (3 vol.), Paris, 1903-1904.
  • MONDESERT, Claude: Les religieuses de Notre-Dame de Sion, Paris, 1923.
  • EGAN, M.J.: Our Lady's Jew: Father Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne, Dublin, 1953.
  • GUITTON, Jean: La conversion de Ratisbonne, Paris, 1964.

References

  1. :: Ecce Homo Convent >> History ::
  2. Encyclopedia Judaica, Ratisbonne Brothers, Volume 13, pp.1570-1571, Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem, 1972
  3. Encyclopedia Judaica, Ratisbonne Brothers, Volume 13, pp.1570-1571, Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem, 1972
  4. Encyclopedia Judaica, Ratisbonne Brothers, Volume 13, pp.1570-1571, Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem, 1972
  5. Mondésert, Claude, Les religieuses de Notre-Dame de Sion, Lyon, Lescuyer, 1956, p.21
  6. Encyclopedia Judaica, Ratisbonne Brothers, Volume 13, pp.1570-1571, Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem, 1972
  7. Encyclopedia Judaica, Ratisbonne Brothers, Volume 13, pp.1570-1571, Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem, 1972
  8. Ratisbonne Monastery
  9. Encyclopedia Judaica, Ratisbonne Brothers, Volume 13, pp.1570-1571, Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem, 1972

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