The Maronite Antonine Sisters Congregation
The Antonine Order was founded in Lebanon on August 15, 1700, at the convent of Saint Isaiah on the mount Aranta - Broummana, by Bishop Gabriel Bluzene and two monks from Our Lady of Tamish. The Antonine monks and nuns take their name after Saint Anthony of the Desert who heard the words of Jesus “Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me” (Mark 10:2).
The Constitutions and the Laws of the Antonine monks and nuns of the Maronite Antiochene Order of Saint Isaiah were approved by Pope Clement XII, on January 17, 1740, in the brief “Misericordiarum Pater.”
After residing in Lebanon in different convents, the Antonine nuns were established permanently in two monasteries: Saint Elias (Ghazir, Lebanon) in 1748 and Saint Anthony (Jezzine, Lebanon) in 1774. Back then, the Antonine nuns were called “adorers” and they followed the rules of the Antonine monks. They led a solitary and cloistered life that was based on prayer, manual work, and service inside the cloister.
While in prayer, Mother Isabelle Khoury, Superior of the Antonine sisters at the monastery of Saint Anthony in Jezzine, felt the urgent need for ministry outside the confines of the cloister. She was sensitive to the needs of the suffering people following World War I, and was especially concerned about the education of women and the youth in poor villages. She strongly believed that people deserved assistance to build a better future for their families.
Mother Khoury joined in her person the virtues of religious mysticism and zeal for the mission with a radical and evangelical commitment. Her major virtues were the love of poverty and the poor, prayer, humility, obedience, charity, compassion, and patience. She bravely asked for the permission to renew her religious congregation and to make it open and ready to serve the needs of the local church and society, without relinquishing the aspects of prayer and contemplation.
On May 10 of 1932, according to her request and the decision of the General Council of the Antonine Fathers, Mother Isabelle Khoury left Jezzine with Sister Mariam Aoun to reside in Saint Doumit’s Monastery (Roumieh-Metn). With the help of the Superior General of the Antonine Fathers, her parents, some relatives and friends, Mother Isabelle renovated that monastery to become the motherhouse and the headquarters of the Antonine Sisters. On April 10, 1940, the nuns were authorized by the Holy See to start an apostolic life outside the convent.
According to the instruction of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, the sisters decided in 1953, in a definite way for the apostolic life. Their new Constitutions were approved on January 17 of 1958. Afterwards, different Chapters were held to finalize the new adapted Constitutions that the Congregation for the Oriental Churches approved on April 26 of 1996.
Whereas the Antonine Sisters Motherhouse is located in Lebanon, the sisters established convents & ministries overseas, namely in Australia, Canada, Cyprus, France, and the USA.
History In The US Adult Day Care History Antonine Sisters Facts Sheet