Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) February 04, 2014
She’s not really obsessed, but she might be.
Olivia Bee, a senior at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. spent her winter break in the Holy Land. It was her third visit. The previous trips occurred while in Jordan during a semester abroad. She was there to learn Arabic. The trip was funded by the Elliott School of International Affairs Undergraduate Scholars Program.
While in the Holy Land researching her thesis, Olivia stayed with a group of Catholic religious sisters. Remarkable was that it was a childhood connection that led her to their doorstep.
Growing up in Connecticut, Olivia’s family lived close to the Mother House for the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist in Meriden. “I grew up being very active with their community,” she said. It was a natural connection.
The relationship with the Sisters served her well. Currently, three of the Sisters are living in Jerusalem. One of them works for the Franciscan Custody in close cooperation with the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land. This, too, seems ironic. Why?
After graduation, Olivia plans to volunteer some of her time giving talks for the FFHL, which works to safeguard the Christian Presence in the Holy Land. “I was honored when they asked me to speak on their behalf,” she said.
“We can always use volunteers to educate Americans on the challenges Christian Arabs face in the Holy Land,” said Richard Sontag, PR Director for the FFHL. “Olivia is in a great position to do that because she not only knows the holy sites but the living stones as well. She has interacted with Christians in the Holy Land on many occasions and even conducted interviews with them for her thesis work.”
This coming May, Olivia plans to help lead a pilgrimage to the Holy Land for her peers at George Washington University Catholic Newman Center. This will mark her fourth trip.
GW Catholics will be traveling with Tekton Ministries, a Catholic pilgrimage provider who works directly with the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land.
“One thing about Olivia is that she’s well-connected. She can be a great voice for Christians in the Holy Land,” remarked Chris Weldon, PR associate for the FFHL. “I spoke with her in the planning stages of their pilgrimage and it was quickly evident that she has a passion for the Holy Land and those who live there.”
“I love being able to walk around the Old City of Jerusalem on my own, navigating the streets and visiting the shop owners I have befriended throughout my various trips,” said Olivia.
One of the shop owners Olivia was able to meet was Wassim Razzouk. He and his wife run a family tattoo parlor in the Old City called Razzouk Tattoo. The family has been in business for 700 years, (yes, 700) tattooing pilgrims after finishing their pilgrimages to the Holy Land as proof of their sacrificial journeys that were often penitential in nature.
So the question arose. Did Olivia get a tattoo on her last trip to the Holy Land?
The answer is yes. “For me, the tattoo is a constant reminder of my love for the Holy Land, and that no matter my vocation, I am ultimately called for complete union with God,” she said with conviction.
The Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land will be lucky to have her. So will Christians Arabs who live there.
For more information on all the services Tekton Ministries has to offer please see their website at http://www.tektonministries.org.