The Congregation of Jesus (CJ) Sisters in Ukraine were founded after the fall of communism. They were working in three places, two were close to the Slovak frontier and the third is in the capital, Kiev. They are part of the Province of Slovak Province of the CJs.
The Sisters were living with the people at the beginning of the war with Russia. Some have remained in Ukraine to assist the people there while others are at the Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Germany borders assisting refugees fleeing the violence.
They greet the refugees at the Slovakia/Ukraine border and distribute food, clothes and medicine to those in need. These good along with other items were donated by members of Catholic parishes in the area.
In Augsburg and Passau (Germany), the Sisters offer hospitality and housing to refugees in their homes and facilities. Refugee families are welcome to stay as long as necessary.
In Bucharest, Romania, families are housed and their needs are met by the Sisters. In Radauti, Sister Anna Maria, CJ, provides a very necessary service: she washes the sheets used by the refugees from Ukraine who are housed in tents provided by the town so each person who comes can rest in a clean bed.
The Sisters who remained in Kyiv work with Caritas to distribute food, clothing, and medicine to those in need. And in Seredne and Uzghorod in West Ukraine, they help people who are on the move, fleeing to other countries for asylum, by providing them with what they will need along the journey.
They said that they, “offer hospitality to the people who left their homes and came from East Ukraine to be safer here. They stay with us in our houses and our Mary Ward Social Centre in Uzghorod. We provide them with food and accommodation. We try to comfort them and bring them hope. We also help distribute humanitarian aid – which comes to us from Slovakia thanks to our CJ sisters there and many generous donors – to our Ukrainian soldiers who defend Ukraine. We are very glad we can help and in this way live our charism fully.”
“We are very grateful to all friends and benefactors for their prayers, they give us strength. Many thanks for every support and generous help.”
Author: Cynthia Mathew CJ
Photos: CJ Sisters at the border and at home in Germany