Simon Naveau, from the Université Catholique de Louvain, writing his thesis; Vincent van Geirt, Sr Anuarite Muadi Kanda fsp. and Charles-Édouard Hartmann, exchange students at the Pontifical Biblical Institute: witness to a fruitful first semester in Jerusalem.

Dominic Mendonca, OP and Anuarite Muadi Kanda, FSP.

They are unanimous: the working environment at Ébaf is exceptional. Despite the war in Gaza, Simon has found much serenitý in being able to study peacefully in the library. “The brothers at the School have managed to preserve a setting conducive to study and to be attentive to researchers in these uncertain times.” Vincent is also deeply satisfied with the working conditions in which he has evolved since September: “the library is remarkable. It’s one of the biggest Bible libraries in the world, and I’ve really enjoyed working and studying here. I was able to finish my memoir on time and with peace of mind.” Sister Anuarite is grateful for the attentive ear she found with her teachers and for their advice and encouragement in her research work.

Coming to Ébaf also means living in community with the Dominican friars. Simon emphasizes “the benevolence of the convent brothers and the calm you can find by rubbing shoulders with them on a daily basis”. For Charles-Édouard, this community life is spiritually uplifting: “For the Dominicans of Jerusalem, the holy places are their living environment. By living alongside them, we become part of the millennia of prayer in these places, and we participate in it”. As for Vincent, he was touched by these Dominicans, “edifying in their willingness to be brothers and in their efforts to form a community.”

Vincent continues: “Between students and volunteers, we also form a community even if we have very varied intellectual and spiritual backgrounds and come from very different horizons. Paradoxically, perhaps the war has helped us in this. Adversitý on the outside has welded our group together and helped uś to live together.” Charles-Edouard confirms his point, adding that the atmosphere is excellent: “that’s part of what’s strong about what I’ve experienced at the School. Spending this semester as a group, sharing quality time with people who want to have the same experiences is wonderful.” Sister Anuarite explains having made encounters she won’t soon forget: “I’ve experienced some superb moments of fraternity at the School.”

From left to right : Simon Naveau, Charles-Édouard Hartmann and Vincent van Geirt