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CRISIS ALERT – Ukrainian Refugees and Orphans

Read the stories of the Sisters who are helping assist Ukrainians – especially women, children, and the elderly who cannot stay back to fight. Each Sister will receive $10,000 and we will continue to add new stories as we hear from the Sisters.

100% of donations go directly to the Sisters on the ground!

Story 9: (Sisters in Ukraine)

The Slovak Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Blessed Imelda has been operating in Ukraine for almost thirty years. They are responding to the needs of the people in the village of Fridisov and in the town of Mukachevo and its surroundings. This area is becoming a refuge for many people who have lost their homes.

In Mukachevo the convent and adjoining courtyard have become a small school for about 40-50 children, It’s a great help, especially now that most schools in Ukraine are closed. The sisters who speak Ukrainian volunteer at the border crossings and provide a welcoming first contact. Soon they will need to open a new kindergarten class to help children adjust to their new environment and acquire the language skills necessary to start primary school. The sisters are also assisting on a long-term basis helping mothers find work in a new place and live a dignified life.

Story 7 and 8:

Congregacio Jesu Sisters assist Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia, Romania, and Germany

Sister Cynthia Mathew shared the activities of her sisters (Congregacio Jesu) to assist refugees fleeing the violence in Ukraine in Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, and Germany.

CJ Sisters in Presov, Slovakia greet refugees at the Slovakia/Ukraine border. They distribute food, clothes, and medicine to those in need, along with other items donated from members of Catholic parishes in the area.

In Augsburg and Passau in Germany, the sisters offer hospitality and housing to refugees in their homes and facilities. Refugee families are welcome to stay as long as necessary.

In Bucharest, Romania, families are housed and their needs are met by the sisters. In Radauti, Sister Anna Maria, CJ, provides a very necessary service: she washes the sheets used by the refugees from Ukraine who are housed in tents provided by the town so each person who comes can rest in a clean bed.

Some CJ Sisters remain in Ukraine to assist people there. Sisters in Kyiv work with Caritas to distribute food, clothing, and medicine to those in need. And in Seredne and Uzghorod in west Ukraine, the sisters help people who are on the move, fleeing to other countries for asylum, by providing them with what they will need along the journey.

In their own words: “We offer hospitality to the people who left their homes and came from East Ukraine to be safer here. They stay with us in our houses and our Mary Ward Social Centre in Uzghorod. We provide them with food and accommodation. We try to comfort them and bring them hope. We also help distribute humanitarian aid – which comes to us from Slovakia thanks to our CJ sisters there and many generous donors – to our Ukrainian soldiers who defend Ukraine. We are very glad we can help and in this way live our charism fully.”

“We are very grateful to all friends and benefactors for their prayers, they give us strength. Many thanks for every support and generous help.”

Story 6:

Tens of thousands of people continue to stream across Ukraine’s border with Poland. The Dominican Sisters in Zhovkva, Ukraine, which is close to that border, can see the long lines of people fleeing the violence of the Russian invasion and going to Poland and all points west seeking safety. Each day the Sisters, along with faithful volunteers, prepare sandwiches, soup, tea, juice, and snacks for the people who arrive hungry, exhausted, and anxious. They make frequent trips to the border every day to offer food and hope to the people…they replenish their food and supplies and make as many as nine trips to the border in a 24-hour period. The Sisters are seeking support so they can maintain this much-needed ministry to the people, mostly women and children, coming to the border and crossing into Poland.

Sister Margaret Lekan, OP, is seeking funding for bread, cheese, potable water, juice, ingredients for soup, and more. This food will be brought to the refugees at the border by the Sisters and volunteers. The Sisters plan to continue this ministry as long as they have the resources to do so.

Story 5:

In Eastern Europe, School Sisters care for disabled children, orphans, and young mothers with children

The School Sisters of Notre Dame in Eastern Europe are responding to the needs of the people fleeing the violence in Ukraine, as are many other congregations of women religious. To meet the diverse needs of the refugees, the SSNDs are offering hospitality to several people, some of who require specialized care.

In one locale, the Sisters are caring for disabled boys. They have the knowledge and skill to meet their needs. In another place, they are caring for twenty-five orphans, all from Ukraine. Another convent has taken in twenty children, all babies – age 4, along with seven caregivers. Many of the convents are offering hospitality, care, and hope to young mothers with babies and small children.

Many School Sisters have been trained in trauma-informed care, which will greatly benefit the people who are coming from places of unimaginable violence and a perilous journey to a place of safety and welcome.

Sister Mary Kay Brooks, SSND, is in touch with many of her sisters in Poland who are attending to the needs of the Ukrainian refugees. This Sister reminds us of the importance of prayer and our dependence on God in difficult times:

  “Only God can stop the war: He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.” (Psalm 46:9)

She also expressed gratitude for everyone who is helping those in need: “Many people open their homes and take refugees under their roof. Local authorities also organize accommodations in large halls. There is now a lack of mattresses and camp beds in many places. At parishes and at Caritas points, volunteers are collecting items that the refugees need, and we are part of this effort. The Polish people are so open and moved by the needs they see that they will accept a million or even more people here. This is a real bridge of goodness – a bridge of hearts.”

Story 3 and 4:

The Salvatorian Sisters in Austria and Germany are actively involved in welcoming the people from Ukraine who are fleeing the violence of the Russian invasion. Their welcome shows both a compassionate response to needs and a remarkable sense of hospitality.

The refugees’ first encounter with the Sisters is at the Ukrainian border. The Sisters are there, providing emergency aid and relief to those in need. Once the refugees arrive in Austria and/or Germany, the Sisters are providing them with housing in apartments and furnished rooms in their retreat houses and conference centers. They also accompany the people, mainly women, children, and the elderly, to doctor visits and medical appointments to see that those in need receive care.

The Sisters are committed to getting the Ukrainian children back into kindergarten and school. This includes providing language support and translation for the students. And they are helping the adults re-enter the job market and find work.

Finally, the Salvatorian Sisters understand the needs of people who have experienced trauma, as the refugees have experienced, so they are providing leisure activities such as excursions, short walks, etc. to create a distraction for a few hours; community events to connect them with each other; some small cultural activities; and spiritual and psychological support.

They urge us all to pray for peace and for the people whose lives are affected by this unprovoked war.

Sisters Rising Worldwide is grateful for this Information provided by Sr. Jean Schafer SDS and Ursula Schulten, and the Salvatorian Sister Provincials in Austria and Germany, and looking to give each country $10,000

Story 2:

The Dominican Sisters have been caring for the children from the Pionierskie orphanage in Ukraine. Pionierskie is located near Mariupol, a city under Russian strikes and bombings. Before the devastation began, thirty children (ages 5 to 18) and six of their caregivers were rescued and are now safe in the Recreation and Rehabilitation Center in Bojanów, Poland. These children from Pionierskie became orphaned due to the war that broke out in Eastern Ukraine in 2014. The prolonged and unceasing conflict on the border with Russia cruelly took the lives of some of their parents and now they have nothing or no one to go back to. War trauma is a part of their lives and is so imprinted on their minds and bodies that it affects the way they act and the ailments they suffer. Now, the trauma is only augmented due to the recent dramatic experiences they have experienced with the current Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In addition to meeting the daily needs of the children and caregivers, the Sisters are seeking support to eventually get the children back into school and gradually help them regain a sense of safety and “normalcy” after the trauma they have suffered, some for the second time in their short lives.

Story 1:

Salvatorian Sisters are receiving people fleeing Ukraine from the Russian invasion and ensuing violence and destruction. Sister Noemi Raczkowska SDS, Provincial Superior of the Salvatorian Sisters in Poland, says fear, tears, joy, hope, and gratitude mix on the Polish-Ukrainian border. The President of Poland assured that all residents from Ukraine are allowed into Poland, both those who have passports and those who have no documents. Over the past few days, we have received refugees from Ukraine, who originate from 170 countries around the world. ” Sister Noemi writes: “We want to help and open wide our hearts to the needs of Ukraine and all refugees who, unable to fight, seek shelter in Poland. In our diocese, we have declared our readiness to receive people in our house in Goczałkowice. We have to provide the refugees with housing, food, clothing, etc. We don’t know how long this care will last, so we also need to help these people find work. People in Poland are very supportive. My heart grows when people unite. Every day transports with food, sandwiches, hot soup, medicines, and medical equipment leave for Ukraine, and on their way back to Poland sick patients are evacuated. There are a lot of volunteers, there is great zeal in our nation. I can’t find the words to describe it all. Sisters and brothers – thank you for your support and most of all for your prayers.”

Funds Needed

$10,000 for every story – stories will continue to be added as we hear from the Sisters.

100% of funds go directly to the Sisters on the ground caring for the refugees.

How Funds Will Be Used

Essential needs for all refugees: shelter, food, toiletries, education, training, etc.

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CRISIS ALERT – Ukrainian Refugees and Orphans

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