Sister Samia Syiej / Syria
Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary
The congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary was created in 1874, in Lebanon. However, its origins date to the 1850’s when Jesuits missionaries where evangelizing the region. Previously the female religious life in the Orient was associated with cloistered monasteries. Nonetheless, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary are active in their local communities. The congregation is active in Syria, Lebanon, Morocco, Algeria, and Chad. Their vocation is to “be in the world bearing witness of Jesus Christ for those who believe in God and also for those who do not.” To bear witness of faith, the religious Sisters of the congregation seek the Magis, Majorem Dei Gloriam: the more, the better, the greater for God. “I chose to join the congregation because it serves people. Every little thing we do is for the greater glory of God. One of the Sisters in my community often says that we have to serve the Christ in others with humility until there is nothing left of us and all is left is Him,” said Sister Samia.
“I understood my calling to religious life at a very early age,” recalled Sister Samia Jreij. She was born and raised in Uzeir, an Arabic village in the Northern part of Israel. Her family was Christian and very committed to the Church. “It was my mother who taught me how to pray. She was also the one who taught me the love for Jesus,” she said. “The house I grew up in was close to a church. I remember we could hear the bells,” she adds. As a little girl, Sister Samia used to spend a long time in the church: “I entered the congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary in 2000. I remember my father’s words when I told him about my decision of embracing the religious life. He said: ‘how blessed am I to present one of my own flesh and blood to God. Your vocation is a gift from God.’ His words were full of faith, and they are still resonating in my heart.”