The Rosary in the United Arab Emirates

The Visitation
Chapel of the Sisters of the Rosary at Sharjah


What a change in setting for this the fourth stage of the Promoter General of the Rosary’s Asian expedition! Here we are in the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf. Indeed is it still Asia?

Still, for logistical reasons the Emirates were chosen for their relatively central location. Returning from the Far East, it was even possible to stay there from 29 to 31 October… but there were no Dominicans in the sector. However, brother Jean-Marie Mérigoux, OP, of the Marseille priory in France suggested this stopover to me. One had to take advantage of it to visit the Sisters of the Rosary whom he knew well when he was in the East. Indeed, their founder, Saint Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas, was canonised in Rome on 17 May 2015 by Pope Francis.

What an extraordinary visit! The welcome was extremely fraternal, at both Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, two emirates where the sisters have schools. They thus provide a discreet Christian presence in a very particular environment, where Islam is the State religion and almost 90% of the population is foreign.

Although they are not Dominicans, the Sisters of the Rosary are close to the Order. Since their foundation they have maintained excellent relations with certain brothers. They all come from the Arab world and in the Emirates they are primarily of Jordanian origin.

In the Persian Gulf, at the foot of huge towers vying with each other to touch the sky and attract visitors from throughout the world, they are in a sense the guardians of the Rosary!

Thanks to them, what should only have been a stopover became a fraternal visit. Let us keep them in our prayers!

Burj Khalifa – 828 metres
The highest tower in the world which dominates the city of Dubai

Fr. Louis-Marie ARIÑO-DURAND, OP

General Promoter of the Rosary