In 1959, a group of six Antonine Sisters were sent to the United States both to further their education and to become better acquainted with the American educational system.  While living in Cleveland, Ohio, and working in the Maronite parish there, the sisters formed a choir and taught Arabic and Religious Education.

On April 7, 1965, the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Churches granted the sisters the required permission for the establishment of a religious house in the United States.  On August 12, 1965, the sisters moved to their new house in North Jackson, Ohio, where they were granted a convent plus a plot of land on the grounds of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon. The sisters helped establish the shrine and continued to teach religion at St. Maron Parish in Youngstown and at Our Lady the Cedars in Akron.

In 1989, a new group of sisters, with Sister Marie Madeleine Iskandar as Superior, was assigned to the United States to establish a day care for elderly, a ministry much needed and fast-growing in the region. Sisters who formed the new team were:  Sr. Marie Madeleine Iskandar, Sr. Claudette Bou-Saade, Sr. Samia Abou-Shakra, Sr. Dolly Azzi, and Sr. Jinane Farah.  Later, Sr. Barbara Al-Raidi joined the group. Encouraged and helped spiritually and financially by Reverend Bishop James W. Malone, then Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, the sisters started in January 1991 to offer care and service to five elderly in their own convent.  Then through the kindness of his Excellency Archbishop Francis M. Zayek of the Maronite Diocese in the USA, a nearby house on the grounds of the shrine was made available to accommodate the additional participants.

Through District XI Area Agency on Aging, Inc. (Passport), the day care was receiving eligible participants on a regular basis. The number of seniors outgrew the facility, necessitating the sisters to explore the possibility of a larger facility that would truly be comfortable, appropriate and dignified for quality care for the elderly.

Supported financially by well-known local American religious communities, their own community, and many faithful of the Maronite churches in the United States, the sisters were able to build a new facility designed to accommodate fifty participants daily.  The new facility started operating on May 27, 1996 and a formal dedication of the building followed on August 11, 1996 in the presence of some dignitaries and many friends.  Their Excellencies Bishop John G. Chedid, Eparch of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles, U.S.A., Archbishop Francis M. Zayek, Eparch of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, U.S.A., and Bishop Antoine Hamid Mourani, Eparch of Damascus, Syria, were present on this occasion. The General Superior of the Antonine Sisters, Sr. Marie-Xavier Skaff, came from Lebanon to witness, encourage, and support this major event in the history of the community in the United States.

In February 2001, His Eminence Mar Nisrallah Peter Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and the East, broke the ground of a new addition to the center. The center consisted of physical, occupational, and speech therapy, along with a memory room and a beauty shop.

 

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