08 July 2016

"I was a prisoner and you visited me": House of Grace in Haifa

In this jubilee year, the Church invites us to meditate and to practice the Works of Mercy. Agnes Shehade and the House of Grace in Haifa are an example of how to put into practice the mission: "Visiting the prisoners."

Christians in the Holy Land

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"Anwar has faced some difficulties in life, and his choices led him to a point of no return."

ANWAR ABU SALEH
Counselor of House of Grace - Haifa
"When I was about 14, I started using soft drugs and then I gradually switched to the use of harder drugs. During this time I was arrested and released several times and always went back to drugs. I never have started treatment or sought the help of someone to abandon that habit. "

The story of Anwar began to change when he found the House of Grace in Haifa. This house was founded in 1982 by Agnes Shehade and by her husband to help ex-prisoners reintegrate into society.

AGNES SHEHADE
Founder of House of Grace - Haifa
"My husband, Kamil, had a friend who was in prison for a long time. Through him, Kamil got to know he life of the prisoners and found out that, once they leave prison, they have no place to go. So Kamil thought it would be very important to do something for them, give them a home and a chance to start again. "

The Catholic Church invites the faithful to meditate and to practice the Works of Mercy, especially in this Jubilee Year, instituted by Pope Francis.
"I was a prisoner and you visited me" (Mt 25, 36) were Jesus’ words, taken from the Gospel of Matthew, which inspired the Church to define the care for prisoners as one of the Works of Mercy.

AGNES SHEHADE
Founder of House of Grace - Haifa
"Through the people who live here, who suffer, but still believe in good things and believe that they can change - I did a lot of thinking and I could see how great Jesus is, because he is always willing to accept us and forgive us. I am not better than any person who was in prison. I also have many things for which to ask forgiveness to others. "

Kamil and Agnes lived mercy in a radical way and gave great confidence to those who were rejected by society.

JAMAL SHEHADE
Son of the Founders and Director of House of Grace - Haifa
"My parents liked the idea of us growing among these people: we sat at the same table for meals; when my parents had to go out, former thieves, ex-murderers, ex-drug dealers looked after us. It was a unique and very beautiful experience."

ANWAR ABU SALEH
Counselor of House of Grace - Haifa
"Today I work as a counselor in the House of Grace. I owe it to Agnes and her children, who chose me and encouraged me to train as a social worker. Thank God I was able to do it and to find this job. I try to help young people who come here, based on my life experience and on the path to recovery from addiction. "

The constant practice of a Work of Mercy through the life and the institution founded by Agnes and Kamil has given and continues to give a new opportunity and a hope to people who are marginalized by society.

RABIA FADEL
Resident of House of Grace - Maqer
"I dream of being able to get married, to raise my children and to continue doing the job I started while I lived here in the reintegration process."