SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH: Our convents have become refugee centres

UKRAINE / LVIV-LAT 22/00888 Special aid for 144 nuns of the Archdiocese of Lviv during the war: A sister with a refugee family. . Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph in Lviv wrote about the current situation: . "On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a military attack on Ukraine and started the war. Millions of people are forced to flee their homes in search of saving lives for themselves and their children. The mass of refugees left the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine for western Ukraine and abroad. In the monastery in Lviv the Sisters of the Congregation of St. Joseph have set up an intermediate point where those people can eat, wash themselves and sleep. The sisters then look for vehicles to take families (especially mothers and children) abroad. The sisters are looking for families in Poland who can take in the refugees, as well as establishing contacts and the possibility of transporting humanitarian aid to them from abroad. People slept in all possible corners of the monastery - on beds, and on mattresses on the floor. They were very grateful for the opportunity of having access to water, hot meals, and of getting some sleep. Some spent several days in basements or bomb shelters. Similarly, in other monasteries of the Sisters of St. Joseph, we try to help refugees and local people who find themselves in a difficult situation due to the war. In the town of Stryi (Lviv region), the sisters prepared a room for a family with two children and a grandmother. With the help of local and foreign benefactors they bought a washing machine, refrigerator, beds, etc. Everything you need for living. One of the children is a sick boy who needs special care and food. The sisters in Stryi also receive refugees who travel abroad to Ukraine, deliver and pass on aid from abroad to those in need, and sew custom-made military vests and balaclavas for the army."

 Lviv during the war: Sisters sewing military vests for Ukrainian soldiers.

Millions of people have had to flee their homes to save themselves and their children, abandoning the regions of the east and south of Ukraine, and heading west. According to recent figures by UNHCR almost four million have crossed the borders into neighbouring countries, but over six million are thought to be displaced within the country.

“There are people sleeping in every corner of the monastery, both in beds and on mattresses on the floor. They are very grateful for the opportunity to wash, eat hot meals and get some rest. Some spent several days in basements or in air-raid shelters”, says Sister Tobiasza, a nun from the Congregation of Saint Joseph, in a conversation with the Aid to the Church in Need foundation, which has just approved a special aid package for nuns from all the Latin rite religious orders carrying out this charitable and hospitable work in the Archdiocese of Lviv.

“We help the refugees and locals who are in difficult situations due to the war”, the nun explains. The Sisters of Saint Joseph set up a transit point for refugees in their monastery in Lviv, where refugees can rest and recover their strength. The sisters also help make contacts and search for families that can welcome refugees in other places, mostly in Poland. Finally, they coordinate the drivers to transport families, many of which are composed of mothers with their children.

Whether big or small, each of the order’s houses or convents has been turned into a point of refuge for the most needy: “In another of our convents, in the city of Stryi, the sisters prepared a room to host a family of two children and a grandmother. With the help of local and foreign benefactors they managed to buy a washing machine, a refrigerator, beds, and so on. All the basics to be able to live. One of the boys is sick and needs special care and food”, explains Sister Tobiaszca.

Since the ACN aid package will benefit all the nuns in the Archdiocese of Lviv, Sister Edita Duszczak, president of the association of women’s Latin rite Catholic congregations of Ukraine, wrote to the foundation to say: “In the name of all the religious sisters of theArchdiocese of Lviv, I express my great gratitude for the help you have provided us until now; and therefore we dare to ask for support once again, to be able to serve and help in this difficult time of war in Ukraine which God has seen fit to allow us to live through”.




Aid to the Church in Need is a Pontifical Foundation of the Catholic Church and registered in Malta Reg. No. LPF-212 as a Foundation regulated by the second schedule of the Civil Code Chapter (16) of the Laws of Malta.


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