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Praying, Healing, Life Giving Presence
 

Ukraine Visited by Basilian Volunteer Outreach

On Tuesday, June 4, 2013, two Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great were anointed and missioned to extend their province’s praying, healing, life-giving presence to the poor and underprivileged during their visit to Ukraine.

In the presence of their community in Holy Trinity Chapel at the Motherhouse of the Basilian Sisters of the Jesus, Lover of Humanity Province, Fox Chase Manor, Sister Dorothy Ann Busowski,OSBM, Provincial Superior, commended Sister Joann Sosler,OSBM and Sister Ann Laszok,OSBM, Co-directors of the Basilian Volunteer Outreach, for assuming the responsibility carried for so many years by Sister Bernarda Arkatin,OSBM, who every summer devotedly visited and distributed gifts to the oft-forgotten residents of various institutions and villages in Ukraine.

Basilian Outreach volunteers gather with residents at the Children’s Psychiatric Institute in Bukovo.

The foster home run by the Sisters of St. Basil in Synovydne was visited by the Basilian Outreach group.

"Sisters," stated Sister Dorothy Ann, "You have responded to the call…generously and willingly. It is a call that will plant the fields that will lead to a harvest on very holy and fertile ground—the human soul."

Accompanying the Sisters on their two week mission were Mary Seliuk of Syracuse, NY, Maria Spotts of Frackville, PA, Ksenia Koltusky of Raleigh, NC and Larissa Spak of Carnegie, PA, a second time volunteer.

The group arrived June 5 in Lviv and then headed to Ivana-Frankiv’sk, location of the Basilian Sisters’ monastery, church and school. The following days were taken up by visits to St. Nicholas Village, (known as a “model” orphanage) run by the Sisters of the Incarnate Word; Synovidne, a foster home administered by the Basilian Sisters; and Korchyn, a small monastic community.

After a visit to an adult psychiatric center in Pohon on June 8, the mission group enjoyed a restful break in scenic Yaremche in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains.

A visit to Bukovo near Starei Sambir on June 10 found residents of the Children’s Psychiatric Institute, ages 3 to 18, happy recipients of the mission team’s gifts and much appreciated attention. "The smiles of the residents of all these institutions, both children and adults, leave an imprint on my heart, said Sister Joann. “ Their generous smiles deserve much love in return."

The next day, the Sisters and their traveling companions embarked on a long train ride to Zaporizhia in Eastern Ukraine. Here they were greeted and guided by Nazar Kraivskyi, Director of The Rays of Light Social Center which offers educational and developmental, consultational and preventative, professional and vocational training to orphaned or abandoned children and young adults. Teachers and volunteers of this center work with a number of regional institutions conducting workshops and teaching sessions, sponsoring clubs, camps and lectures, offering professional medical and legal assistance as well as fostering spiritual, moral and cultural values.

Outreach members engage in children’s activities in Zaporizhia

Mary Seliuk, Maria Spotts, Larissa Spak, Ksenia Koltusky, Sr. Joann Sosler, OSBM, and Sr. Ann Laszok, OSBM pray at the tomb of Metropolitan Sheptytsky in Lviv for all the donors of the Ukraine mission trip.

 

In all their encounters with the residents of the various residences and institutions, the Basilian Volunteer Outreach Group interacted warmly with their new friends and distributed treats and mementoes of their visit.

Larissa Spak felt blessed to return to Ukraine for a second visit. “Last summer I was so inspired by all of the children I met, I just had to come back and see them again, as well as meet new ones.”

Maria Spotts realized her inability to speak Ukrainian was no obstacle to communicating with the residents. “When we arrived…, the kids met us with hugs and kisses; they were so happy to have people visiting them, you didn’t have to speak Ukrainian. They were just happy you listened.”

“Visiting the …orphanages and institutions (in Ukraine) made me realize how much I take for granted back at home,” reflected Ksenia Koltusky. “I will keep everyone I met in my prayers and hope to be able to visit those children next summer.”

“The lovableness of the physically and mentally challenged children I meet always touches my heart,” said Sister Ann. “In reflecting upon my visit, I see a great need for evangelization and catechesis in Eastern Ukraine.”

In addition to their goodwill visits to the various institutions, Sister Joann, Sister Ann Mary, Ksenia, Larissa and Maria toured Zaporicke Sitch Museum, met with Bishop Stepan Meniok, Exarch of Donets’k and Kharkiv and then paid their respects at the crypts of Cardinal Sylvester Sembratovych, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, Cardinal Josef Slypyj and Cardinal Myroslav Ivan Lubachivsky at St. George Cathedral in Lviv. “The highlight of all my trips to Ukraine is always visiting the crypt in St. George Cathedral in Lviv, “commented Sister Ann. “Praying at the tomb of Metropolitan Sheptytsky is so awesome considering all he did for our Church. I feel especially close to him and remember all the people who have asked for prayers and for those who contributed to the needy.”

On Tuesday, June 18, the day of their departure, the Mission Group expressed their appreciation for their prayers and hospitality to the Sisters of St. Basil of the Holy Trinity Province, some of whom accompanied them to various destinations and helped to make their visit a memorable experience.

For further information on participating or supporting the Basilian Volunteer Outreach----

Contact:

Sister Ann Laszok,OSBM
412-260-1607
srannl@aol.com

Sister Joann Sosler,OSBM
215-379-3998 ext. 16
vickis@stbasils.com

 

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