by Adriana Bialik
It was important for me to visit the places where Jesus lived and taught. At first I thought that this was the only reason I wanted to go, but my heart and my love for this part of the world would turn out to be much bigger. I knew I didn’t want to go there as a tourist who goes to the country for a week, “visits all the holy places” and then goes back home with a lot of questions in her head. I knew I wanted to truly experience that part of the world, to meet people and soak up their culture, be able to eat with them, have fun, and experience everyday life.
Sometimes you have to leave a city you’ve lived in before, to be able to return to it for a fantastic surprise, straight from Heaven. During my first years of study, I lived in Krakow. At the time, I was completely unaware of the existence of the congregation of the sisters of Sion and their Polish house in my neighbourhood.
A new chapter in my life
After completing my studies in Poznań, intent on nurturing my heart and myself, I started to look for opportunities for an immersive experience in Jerusalem. I had already taken part in cultural exchange projects in many places before. I liked the idea of entering previously unknown spaces, places and communities that afforded me the privilege of being a part of something that was, and would otherwise remain, alien and distant. I contacted the Congregation; and so it happened that, three months later, I was back in Krakow, for my first meeting with Sr. Ania.
On the eve of my 25th birthday, I landed at Tel Aviv airport. Sr. Colette picked me up and took me to Ein Karem, the place that became the source of my love for Jerusalem and the beginning of a new chapter in my life.
When I’d left Poland, I’d set myself some goals for my three-month stay in Israel. My dream was clear: apart from living with the Sisters in Ein Karem, I wanted to meet people in love with the Holy Land. I didn’t think all this would be given to me in the first days of my stay.
Reading the Gospel passages in that place had an almost metaphysical dimension for me
From the very beginning, Jesus confirmed that I was in the right place, that everything was in accordance with His plan, that He would guide me and broaden my horizons, and put fascinating people on my path. I gave myself up to Him – after all, I was in His house!
In the first week, I already knew that on my return to Poland I would cry with longing. Then I met a Sion sister who lived in another NDS house in the centre of Jerusalem. We arranged for me to return, as soon as I could, to continue my adventure in the Old City.
During this second stay, I regularly met with Sr. Anne to meditate on the Scriptures. Reading the Gospel passages in that place had an almost metaphysical dimension for me. These conversations taught me a lot, but also raised new questions and doubts.
My stays in Jerusalem were a great gift, a privilege, and a dream come true
My stays in Jerusalem were a great gift, a privilege, and a dream come true. I met people who are still my friends to this day, and I began the journey of discovering my roots and answering questions about who I am and what my vocation is.
The two experiences were a prelude to my ongoing relationship with Israel. Now I go there to develop my film-making passion, to search for answers about my origins, to have fun with my friends at Mahane Yehuda market, to walk on the beaches of the White City, to eat delicious food, and to pray and build a relationship with God at the centre of the Universe – because that’s where I feel I am in Jerusalem.