The First Lady Mrs. Wafaa Sleiman, who is accompanying the President on his State visit to Australia, headed upon her arrival to the state of New South Wales to the Rest Home run by the Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family in Sydney. The director of the Home Sister Elham Geagea welcomed the First Lady, flanked by a crowd of nuns, officers and residents of the Home, Lebanese and non-Lebanese, who received her with cheers and Lebanese songs. The Minister of Information Mr. Walid Daouk accompanied Mrs. Sleiman on this visit.
Sister Geagea delivered a welcome speech in which she thanked Mrs. Sleiman: “You do not bear faithfulness (in Arabic ‘Wafaa’) in your name only, but rather concretize it as a human national mission by undertaking numerous social services. You encourage us to carry out this human mission because you appreciate the value of the human being and you respect the situation that our beloved elderly have reached due to the burden of Time which made them lose much of their physical and mental strength”. Geagea gave an overview about the Asylum’s history, stating that it was founded in 1997 then renovated and enlarged in 2007. She called on the Lebanese government to take care of the elderly in Lebanon and provide assistance to them, like the one ensured by the Australian government.
In turn, Mrs. Sleiman greeted the residents of the Home, and lauded the influential and active humanitarian role of the Maronite Sisters in their mission away from their mother country. She considered them missionaries of love from Lebanon to this generous land, carrying with them the authentic Lebanese values of solidarity, service and preservation of family ties.
Mrs. Sleiman noted that the memory of this encounter, with all the joy and giving that mark it, will remain in her heart, wishing longevity and continued health for the residents.
At the end of the encounter, Sister Geagea offered to Mrs. Sleiman, on behalf of the Sisters and residents, the order’s emblem bearing the date of this historical visit. As for her, the First Lady presented a memorial shield to Sister Geagea.
Prior to leaving the nursing Home, Mrs. Sleiman wrote the following note on its Golden Guestbook:
“Since 1997, this Home has grown as a living image of Lebanon, the land of spiritual glare... You have been missionaries for the action of love and the efficiency of grace in the four corners of the prospering city of Sydney, without any discrimination on the basis of confession or race.
The joy of my encounter with you today is crowned with my prayers for the sisters in charge of this Home to keep giving and dedicating themselves in service, and for the residents to have a long life.