Sister Susanna Wakim with her students in Lebanon Sister Susanna Wakim with her students in Lebanon  #SistersProject

Lebanon: Sr. Wakim on importance of highly-educated religious sisters

As a religious sister teaching in Lebanon’s Catholic universities, Sr. Suzanne Wakim has found that many people of different faiths enjoy attending her lectures on Christ in philosophy.

By Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik & Tomasz Zielenkiewicz

Sister Suzanne Wakim is one of many religious sisters who teach in Lebanon’s Catholic universities.

She teaches philosophy in four universities, and her students include people of different faiths, among them Muslims. She is an expert in Pope Benedict XVI’s anthropological and philosophical thought, and her work on the topic is the first on the late Pope to be written in Arabic.

Answering a question about her students’ reactions to her classes, Sister Wakim shared that after one of her first lectures they told her, “Thanks to you, Sister, we understand philosophy for the first time.”

“Some students from other groups even look through the classroom windows to listen to my lectures, as was the case with the lesson on Christ in philosophy,” Sr. Wakim told Vatican News, adding that she allows them to enter the classroom for the lectures.

Sr. Wakim began teaching in 2021. She has a sense of mission, and wants to do something good for the Church.

“I also want to contribute to the formation of future priests, given that I have had the opportunity to teach seminarians of the Maronite Church,” she said, noting that she is very busy, as she currently holds two full-time jobs.

She has written four academic publications over the past three years. Among other things, she explores the topic of teaching ethics in universities.

As the religious sister highlighted, today it is important to read and study, to educate oneself.

“I also encourage the younger religious sisters to develop their interests and broaden their horizons; people need educated sisters,” she said. “We cannot focus only on our religious duties; today we are in contact with many educated people, which is why it is important to grow also in our education.”

This also changes the congregation’s image. Sr. Wakim added that when she was presenting one of her articles for publication, someone asked her who would read it. “Today, we read too little and do not educate ourselves enough, often simply out of laziness,” she added.

The religious sister speaks Arabic and English, and she is learning Italian. For work, she has also dabbled in Greek and Syriac.

With her family she also speaks Aramaic. “The biggest challenge is finding a balance among all my responsibilities,” she confided.

Sr. Suzanne Wakim belongs to the Salvatorian Sisters of Our Lady of the Annunciation. She teaches at Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Saint Joseph University of Beirut, Antonine University of Baabda, and the Saint Paul Institute of Philosophy and Theology of Harissa, in Lebanon.

She also teaches at a school managed by her same religious congregation: the High School Department of Notre Dame de la Délivrance of Hadath.

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29 May 2024, 15:34