The Antonine Sisters are members of the Maronite Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See of Rome. The history of the congregation in the United States began in 1959 when six sisters from Lebanon were sent to Cleveland to further their educations and become better acquainted with the American educational system.
In 1965, the Sisters moved to North Jackson, where they had been granted a convent and a plot of land on the grounds of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon. In 1989, a new group of sisters, with Sr. Marie Madeleine Iskandar as Superior, was assigned to the United States to establish a daycare for the elderly. In January 1991, the Sisters began to offer care and service to elderly individuals in their own convent.
As word of the Day Care spread, the program grew and soon needed its own building. With financial support from local American religious communities, their own community, and the Maronite faithful in the U.S., the Sisters were able to build a large new facility next door to their convent in 1996.
A 2001 addition allowed the Day Care to offer physical, occupational and speech therapy. It also includes a memory room for clients with Alzheimer’s and an on-site beauty shop.
In May 2013, the Antonine Sisters broke ground for the construction of Antonine Village, an Assisted Living and Memory Care facility to be located adjacent to the Day Care.
In addition to the Antonine Village and the Antonine Sisters Adult Day Care, the Sisters are also active at St. Maron parish in Youngstown, assisting with Christian formation for both children and adults.
More information about the Antonine Sisters is available here at the congregation’s website.
Meet the Sisters
Sr. Marie Madeleine Iskandar has been the president and Executive Director of the Antonine Sisters Adult Day Care since 1989, giving her more than 20 years of experience in healthcare administration and caring for the elderly. She holds Masters' degrees in Sociology and Religious Education from Loyola University-Chicago.
Sr. Samia Abou-Shakra, also served at the Day Care at its founding. Sr. Samia holds a bachelor’s of Art in English and Catechetics from Notre Dame College, USA; Masters in English from Youngstown State University, in Pastoral Ministry from Loyola University, New Orleans, and in School Management and Leadership from Notre Dame University, Lebanon. She currently serves as Executive Director of the Antonine Village.
Sr. Dolly Azzi, RN, was one of the six Sisters who started the Day Care. Sr. Dolly holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing from Saint Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon, an MBA in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University-New Orleans and an MBA in Business administration in health care at Walsh University in Canton.
Sr. Grace Azoury, RN, is a graduate of Youngtown State University. She is the primary provider of nursing services at the Day Care.
Sr. Kawsar Choufani, DPT, received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Wheeling Jesuit University. She currently serves as the Director of the Antonine Village Physical Therapy Center and Treasurer of the Day Care’s Board of Trustees.