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Project of the Week – Ukraine

Support for 144 religious sisters in the Archdiocese of Lviv who are housing citizens displaced by the war

Since the war broke out on February 24, 2022, more than 12 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes. Over 80% of them are women and children, and most have fled to West Ukraine, while others have travelled to neighbouring countries. However, many have chosen to remain in the region, hoping to be able to return to their homes in the near future, or else simply not knowing where else to go to.

In the Archdiocese of Lviv, communities of religious sisters have opened their doors to these refugees and have offered them help and protection. At present, there are 144 sisters from 23 different communities involved in this work. Some of these sisters have themselves been forced to flee from other regions of the country and have taken refuge with their fellow sisters. They are all now working to help those who have lost everything and who often feel hopeless.

For example, in St. Michael’s parish in Lviv, the Handmaids of the Immaculate Virgin Mary have welcomed refugees from Mariupol, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, and other parts of East Ukraine and housed them in the parish orphanage which they run. There are 30 of them altogether, and the sisters are looking after them, providing decent accommodation, meals, clothing, basic hygiene and cosmetic products, and also frequently helping them deal with paperwork. Additionally, they are trying to help the children suffering from trauma as a result of the recent events.  

Prayer, a fundamental part of a renewed heart and spirit

The spiritual needs of the refugees are also a priority for the sisters. “In the evenings, we pray the Rosary together with our guests in the convent chapel,” they tell us. “And when the air raid sirens go off and the people are forced to seek shelter in the basement, we go down there and pray the Rosary and the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy together with them, asking God to protect us all in his providence. But what God wants above all is to put ‘a new heart and a new spirit’ in each one of us, and so prayer becomes a space in which it is possible to open ourselves to the light of God.”

Similarly, in their other convent in Krysowice, close to the border crossing, the sisters care for the refugees, offer them overnight accommodation, and provide medical care. They also provide accommodation for doctors and other volunteers from Poland, who have come to Ukraine to help.

We have supported these 144 sisters from the 23 different communities in the Archdiocese of Lviv with a sum of $108,000, so that they may continue to help and serve those who have lost everything.

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