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Bio express

Age: 49

Profession: Cleaning woman 

City: Tel Aviv

Rite: Roman Catholic

Bhea

"We are all Catholics, but it is not the same"

Are you involved with the church?

I arrived in Israel from the Philippines in 2000 as a caregiver. I am the youngest of 9 children. My parents were in the farming industry and as we weren’t among the richest families , there is no other solution than looking for a job abroad. I took care of an old woman in Tel Aviv for 3 years, but it was hell. When I left her, she didn’t give me a release paper so I couldn’t find a legal job. I stayed without papers until 2014. Those were hard days. I prayed a lot and because of that things got better I wanted to volunteer for the church. When I arrived, I went to Saint-Anthony, the big church in Jaffa, but it was far away from where I live. The center, first in rented halls and then our own Our Lady Woman of Valor, opened in 2009 and I volunteered. I feel it is important. We Catholics, always seek for a church when we go abroad. I took charge of the readers , all the logistics… And now I am in charge of the catechism. We built the community center from scratch. 

 

Do you feel part of the Holy Land church?

I think so. It is not like in my country where I feel that I belong 100%. Here it is part of me. We do summer camps in Deir Rafat, but we don’t meet the Arab community. We are all Catholics, but it is not the same. It is ok, we go along with it and understand the differences. 

 

Does something bother you inside the church?

When religion is mixed with politics. People trust priests and they believe what they say, but they are supposed to teach the way religion has to be, not politics.

 

Do you have a dream for the church?

That it becomes united. We have only one God and so many different teachings. It is difficult but we have to pray for it.

Interview by Cécile Lemoine