News & Events


Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great Receive Lumen Christi Award from Catholic Extension

February 27, 2024
Posted in: Events, News

The Sisters of Saint Basil the Great received Catholic Extension Society’s 2023-2024 Lumen Christi Award on Feb. 22 during a celebratory dinner with over 200 people in attendance at the Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center in Jenkintown. The award is the highest honor given by Catholic Extension to a person or institution who radiates and reveals the light of Christ present in the communities where they serve.

“I’m proud to be a Sister of Saint Basil the Great,” said Sr. Joann Sosler, OSBM, Provincial Superior of the Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great, Jesus, Lover of Humanity Province. “I can say that (this award) has definitely united all the Sisters within the Order. We feel as one. When one part of the body is in pain, the others do what we can do to alleviate that pain. Being a part of the effort to pray for Ukraine definitely emphasizes that we need to contribute as much as possible.”

The Sisters received the award for their humanitarian efforts during the war in Ukraine. When the war began, they began by helping with the evacuation of residents. In Ukraine, they visited the elderly and delivered bags of supplies, food, drinking water and cooking gas. They became a shelter to people fleeing occupied territories, and housed women and children whose husbands had been conscripted into military service.

When times got tough as the war waged, Sr. Lucia Murashko, OSBM, said that she and others relied on the strength of her fellow Sisters in the Order.

“For me, it’s someone behind your shoulder and saying, ‘You can continue because you are not alone,’” Sr. Murashko said. “When you hear all of these terrible (events in the war), you can really be scared. Being alone, it’s not easy. But you (our Sisters) are with us and thank you very much for being very close and supporting us.”

In Philadelphia, the Sisters shine the light of Christ not only by organizing donations to their fellow Sisters in Ukraine. The Saint Basil Support Ministry, set up by Sr. Teodora Kopyn, OSBM, helps hundreds of families in the Philadelphia area.

Sr. Kopyn takes donations she receives and delivers them throughout Kensington, a Philadelphia neighborhood at the center of the opioid crisis. She pulls up in her minivan and distributes everything from food and clothing to comfort.

Regardless of which battlefield they are near, the Sisters continue to spread the light of Christ.

“The Sisters made such a contribution and are doing so today in Philadelphia and I think it’s wonderful that Catholic Extension is recognizing them,” said Bishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. “The Sisters are there, showing the face of Jesus and seeing the face of Jesus in the eyes of the most destitute. We’re very grateful for the Sisters and their mission.”

Father Jack Wall, President of Catholic Extension, added, “God calls us to go where people are suffering and (the Sisters) are doing it so beautifully. Our purpose is to be with people like you to make sure God’s presence is among the poor.”

The ceremony was preceded by a tour introducing people to Ukrainian Catholic institutions and the Sisters’ impact on the Philadelphia community. A group of about two dozen guests visited the Sisters’ Jenkintown Motherhouse for lunch. That was followed by a tour of the Ukrainian Heritage Studies Center at Manor College, an institution founded by the Sisters in 1947; St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church’ and the Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center; all in Jenkintown.

Among those in attendance were Mother Marcela Runcan, OSBM, the General Superior of the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great, who traveled from Rome, Italy for the event; Bishops-elect Keith Chylinski, Christopher Cooke and Efren Esmilla from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia; the senior leadership of Catholic Extension; representatives of Support Our Aging Religious, a foundation that supports retired religious and which has been very supportive of the Sisters; and numerous Ukrainian community leaders.

Photos from the event will be available online in the near future at

Anyone interested in supporting the Sisters’ mission may do so by making a donation online or by mailing a check payable to “Sisters of St. Basil” to 710 Fox Chase Road, Jenkintown, PA 19046. Please write “Lumen Christi” in the memo field.

To view photos from this entire evening, see below.

Lumen Christi Award Presentation - Feb. 22, 2024