Basic Support for Religious Sisters in Ukraine
Like the rest of the world, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe are also struggling to contend with the coronavirus pandemic. The situation is serious, and although the official figures for the number of people infected are relatively low, the reason is that cases of sickness are not always reported and so are not officially recorded. At the same time, the economic situation has deteriorated, leaving many people are out of work.
Among the many people hard-hit by these problems are the religious communities, notably in Ukraine. Among those affected are the 138 religious Sisters of the 22 different religious communities in the Diocese of Kiev and Zhytomyr. Normally the communities do not require support for their life and ministry, but now they are facing a very different situation.
Many of these Sisters would ordinarily be helping the priests in the parishes, preparing children and adults for reception of the sacraments, working as sacristans and in the many other tasks and duties that parish work requires. Usually parishes were able to pay the Sisters for this work, but the effects of the pandemic have made this impossible. Many parishioners are staying away from church for fear of the virus and as a result the church collections have fallen drastically, with smaller parishes being the most severely affected.
Some of these congregations also run residential homes for girls and young women, and many of the Sisters work in hospitals, orphanages and kindergarten, as well, but the difficult economic situation has meant the Sisters are not getting paid for this work either anymore. At the same time, more and more people come knocking at the convent doors seeking help.
The Sisters share the little they have with those who have still less than they do. Others come seeking counsel, support or simply a sympathetic ear, ready to listen to their fears and concerns about their own very difficult life situations. Many also come asking the Sisters for their prayers.
Sadly, many of the Sisters themselves fell victim to the Covid 19 virus, and some are still suffering the consequences to this day. Medical treatment in Ukraine can be costly, and then there are the usual expenses of their convents – heating, maintenance and all the many other costs which were always a challenge even before the pandemic. The result is that these 138 religious Sisters urgently need help if they are to survive and be able to help others as well.
Sister Renata Nuckowska from the diocesan commission for the religious orders writes to us: “The pandemic has brought with it a great deal of uncertainty, anxiety, fear and insecurity which has affected not only the world around us but also our communities. Our Sisters are praying the Rosary daily for an end to the pandemic and are constant in their Eucharistic adoration before the Lord. They draw graces above all from the Eucharist.”
We are proposing a contribution of $78,900 in order to support these 138 Sisters of the 22 different congregations as they strive to carry out their faithful service to God and their fellow man in the midst of the pandemic.
Will you join in helping to fund the work of these religious Sisters in Ukraine?
As Sister Renata reminded us, “We also remember in our prayers all our benefactors who have made it possible for us to carry out our work.”
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