Shibly: the testimony of a Holy Sepulcher Kawas

Posted on Jun 29, 2019

Shibley established a family and began his career, recalling the main role played by the Custody of the Holy Land in preserving the remaining “Living Stones” in this land…. “Believe me, If the Franciscans were not here in the Holy Land, there will be no Christians here.”

SHIBLY ABU SA’ADA, Kawas in the Custody of the Holy Land “The first person that took care of me and made me feel as his son was father Santi. He was a very good person; he took care of me and my studies as well. He gave me everything like a real father.”

After suffering during his childhood from many difficulties in his life, Shibley Abu Sa’ada found his way of salvation inside the walls of the Saint Savior Monastery of the Custody of the Holy Land in Jerusalem.

There he refined his conviction; fulfilled his personality, and his feelings and love for the Franciscan Friars touched his heart. He shared food and water with them. Their image was printed in his mind. He was without a real father, but our Lord was his father.

SHIBLY ABU SA’ADA, Kawas in the Custody of the Holy Land “We were living in very poor conditions. I was five years old when my mother brought me to this boarding school. I did not have a father for family reasons. The Franciscan Friars took care of us, and we received from them enough care that emulates the care of our families.”

Shibley remembers many of his comrades who lived in the dorms of the boarding school in Jerusalem. However, in 2004, the Franciscan Friars were forced to close the school for technical reasons related to permits and difficulties met by the students to reach the school because of the construction of the Separation Wall. The consequences of the closure made drastic changes in the life of Shibley, who asked one day to be a Franciscan Friar.

SHIBLY ABU SA’ADA, Kawas in the Custody of the Holy Land “When I asked for this but Father Santi told me that I am the only child for my mother. It would be better to start thinking of creating a family. But I said: I do not want to. They recognized that I have no home and my mother had no time for me, so they decided to keep me with them as long as I want.”

The mercy of the divine care, overshadowed by the tears of Shibley led him to get married and he had now three sons. He established a family and began his career, recalling the main role played by the Custody of the Holy Land in preserving the remaining “Living Stones” in this land.

SHIBLY ABU SA’ADA, Kawas in the Custody of the Holy Land “The Franciscan Friars helped me also in building my family. They supported my kids and gave them scholarships. The last thing that the Friars have done was providing a house for my son and his wife because I was not able to support them. I am very grateful to the Friars.”

The term Kawas is a Turkish word which means “law”. The original name is Yasgajy or a police officer assigned to guard consuls and ambassadors; a profession occupied by Shibley for more than twenty-four consecutive years, in addition to serving as a special driver for the Custos. This shows the great trust given to him by the Custody of the Holy Land.

SHIBLY ABU SA’ADA, Kawas in the Custody of the Holy Land “Since the beginning of my married life, I celebrated Christmas once with my family. After that, every Christmas was celebrated with the Friars. I am proud of doing this. because it’s our country and we should be here and show the whole world that we are here.

“Believe me, If the Franciscans were not here in the Holy Land, there will be no Christians here.”