Support for the life and ministry of the 56 religious Sisters
With a total area spanning almost 10 million km² the diocese of Saint Joseph, based in Irkutsk, East Siberia, is larger than the entirety of the United States. Scattered across this vast area are no more than approximately 52,000 Catholics, ministered to by a mere 40 diocesan priests.
In this context an indispensable contribution is made by the 56 religious Sisters, belonging to 12 different congregations, who work in the parishes and perform so many works of charity serving the people. Their work is a blessing and touches mainly children from broken homes, the isolated elderly and the sick. There are also many street children and homeless people who are supported by their presence.
In Vladivostok, for example, the Sisters of Mercy of Saint Anne have established a program of support for young single mothers and their work is a vital contribution to helping young mothers choose life for their children.
In Chita, the diocese has set up a centre for street children and the homeless, run by Sisters of the congregation of the Handmaids of the Immaculate Conception. Many of the children actually live in the centre, while others come on a daytime basis. The Sisters also pay regular visits to kids in a children’s home some 70 km away. They care for mothers and babies in prison who are in desperate need of both material and pastoral support. A few years ago, in the town of Angark, the Sisters opened another home where they also care for street children.
In a similar way, the Sisters of the other congregations also care for all those in need. As for ACN, we help all 56 religious from these various congregations working in the Diocese of Saint Joseph, Irkutsk, with regular contributions to meet their basic subsistence needs.