Sisters of Nazareth: We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth. (3 John 1:8)
Visit by appointment only.
The Sisters of Nazareth convent in close to the Basilica (in the center of town on Casa Nova Street) and is ornately designed in the Gothic-style of churches of that time (1800s). This is a unique cloister and quite a site on a Christian’s visit to Nazareth. It is a large, impressive building and next to it, the nuns have built a school, a church and a hostel for traveling pilgrims to stay in. Addressing the needs of the community, the school services the blind and deaf children of Nazareth and the surrounding areas in Israel. The convent is used as a social gathering center and a religious venue for the Catholic community in Nazareth.
The Nazareth Nuns order originates from the Catholic nuns who visited Nazareth from French churches in 1855. Around the time of their settling, the Nazareth Nuns began, not only to encourage the local churches, but to purchase stores in the market to stimulate the economy and provide for themselves without taxing the surrounding community. With that money and fund provided by the Roman Catholic churches, the nuns started excavating an area to be used for their convent.
Once excavation began, the Sisters of Nazareth found many interesting religious and secular artifacts long ago buried in the rock and sand of Israel. Among the exciting relics found were a large ornate altar, water pits, and a huge arch above a large hall, catacombs and beautiful mosaics.
Given the nature of these artifacts, it is supposed that perhaps the convent is built on the site of an ancient Jewish burial site. The Jews buried their deceased outside the temple walls. This would date the convent site to just after the Second Temple in Israel. According to supposition, the graves then became water pits and maybe even residency rooms. The other suggested date for the archeological remains is that there was a burial site that even predated the rebuilding of the Temple, then used in a different capacity later.
The excavations are expensive and time consuming. Luckily, with the help of donations from the pilgrims using the hostel for respite, the Sisters of Nazareth were able to continue excavation of the remains from 1940 and 1963. Among the pilgrims who utilized in the Sisters of Nazareth’s accommodations, the locals tell of Charles de Gaulle. Charles de Gaulle was a French leader. He was prominent enough to merit a bed made for his unusually tall stature. It is still a pleasant place to stay while visiting Nazareth.