There is one Coptic Convent in Bethlehem named after St Mary.
There is also some land (within walking distance), functioning as a retreat house for the nuns, and including a garden, chicken coop, and an underground cave which is hoped to one day be converted into a Church.
Taking care of these 2 main Coptic sites are a nun, a consecrated deaconess and a novice.
The nature of the work there is varied as they are entirely self-sufficient. Their work involves feeding and maintenance of the animals (both on the roof level of the convent and at the land), and maintaining the convent, which contains an underground Church (also once a cave).
The nuns at the Convent also make a variety of hand-made crafts including hand-painted Coptic and Byzantine icons, women's scarves, Deacons garments (tonia) and more.
At the Convent, there is also a Church souvenir shop selling these hand-crafts, as well as all kinds of cheap souvenirs (olive wood, silver, pearl) available for Coptic pilgrims.
The exterior of the Convent:
The underground Church in the Convent (previously a natural cave):
The convent has no specific opening hours for visitors; however you can can ring the bell at any time, and the nuns are more than welcoming; or you can contact them on:
+970 2 2747733 or
The Convent is located near the Nativity Church, just around the corner from Milk Grotto Street.