As Europe and the world prays for peace in Ukraine, Religious sisters in Ukraine and Poland have opened the doors of over 1,000 convents to those fleeing war.
A recent article from Vatican News describes the work Sisters across the region are doing:
‘There are currently over 1000 convents run by nuns in Poland and Ukraine helping the multitude of people forced to flee their homes as the Russian invasion advances in Ukraine.
“In 924 convents in Poland and 98 in Ukraine, Sisters are providing spiritual, psychological, medical, and material help,” to vulnerable people fleeing war’, reveals a statement issued on Tuesday by the Council of Major Superiors of Congregations of Women Religious in Poland.
Opening doors to all in need
‘Since the beginning of the Russian invasion’, the statement says, ‘each of the nearly 150 religious congregations operating in Poland and Ukraine has been offering shelter and other types of assistance to those in need.
‘498 convents in Poland and 76 in Ukraine are currently offering to house refugees. That means at least 2,400 families – that include over 3,000 children and almost as many adults – have found shelter under their roofs.
‘64 other religious institutions’, the statement adds, ‘have found a place for 600 orphans, while 420 others are offering a safe haven to almost 3,000 mothers with their children’.
On the frontlines with help
‘The Religious Sisters are also on the frontlines providing aid and are involved in the preparation and distribution of hot meals, hygiene products, clothing and blankets. They are active in helping transport people from war-affected places, in searching for employment opportunities for refugees in Poland, and are creating new jobs in their own centres.
‘They have also put themselves at service to coordinate assistance for refugees’, the statement continues, ‘to help Ukrainian children register at Polish schools, serve as translators, organise classes for children and mothers coming from Ukraine, and cater especially for elderly and disabled people’.
The Church is with all those who are suffering
Our Missio family across the region of eastern Europe stands with the whole Church family in bringing hope to the many thousands of people whose lives have been turned upside down by this conflict. A source from the local Church told the Fides news service:
‘The country is devastated, millions of refugees are fleeing the fighting areas as the war draws ever closer to the capital Kyiv. The troops of the Russian Federation are advancing slowly but surely and the death toll on both sides is increasing, many are little more than teenagers’.
The source continued:
‘Many Priests in the besieged cities, despite the difficulty, have stayed. The whole Church is on the side of the suffering people. The shepherds are with the sheep and they know the pain… they are the bishops of the field’.
Please pray for Ukraine
Last Sunday the Holy Father sent out another heartfelt call for peace, speaking out against ‘the barbarity of the killing of children, of innocents’ and urging a halt to the ‘massacre’ and an end to what he called the ‘unacceptable armed aggression’ against Ukraine.
We join Pope Francis to pray for an end to the violence, and that the Church may be an instrument of peace and reconciliation.