A monastery in the Ternopil region sheltered 40 children from Kharkiv

09.06.2022, 15:33
A monastery in the Ternopil region sheltered 40 children from Kharkiv - фото 1
Today, the Monastery of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Yazlovka, Ternopil region, is bustling with life. Children are playing, dogs are running around, women plant flowers and take care of the household, as the sisters take care that none of the new tenants will miss anything. All these women and children feel comfortable and safe within the walls of the monastery. They were all here because of the war.

Some of the women with children are wards of the Orionist sisters from a single mother's home in Korotychy near Kharkiv. Their lives had not been easy before, and the war had taken everything away from them. Some of the women found themselves here thanks to information from friends — about the possibility of evacuation, which was organized by the church, and decided to leave their cities, saving their children. Many people have experienced living in bomb shelters and basements during shelling and bombing. Someone has nowhere to go back to. According to CREDO, one woman lost her husband, the father of her children, while the other lost both sons.

The community of Immaculate Sisters in Yazlovka is not very numerous. But the effectiveness of their ministry and the quality of care for the monastery and the retreat house, which has become a temporary shelter for internally displaced persons, is amazing.

A monastery in the Ternopil region sheltered 40 children from Kharkiv - фото 94719

The sisters not only give food and shelter but also encourage prayer, confession, Communion, and participation in Holy Mass and catechism to the children.

A monastery in the Ternopil region sheltered 40 children from Kharkiv - фото 94720

So, the monastery hosted an around-the-clock prayer Marathon, which lasted continuously for nine days. A schedule was drawn up, and everyone could choose the right time. And although most of the women here are orthodox, they have learned to pray the Rosary to beg for peace for Ukraine through the mediation of the Virgin Mary and intercede for the military.

All women who live with their sisters are involved in everyday affairs and take care of order and cleanliness according to a certain schedule. Children study at school online, and a kindergarten has been organized for the younger ones. And so that the children had a place to play in the fresh air, the sisters set up a playground. They were helped in this by gentlemen and volunteers from Poland: they bought and brought a children's slide and swing.

"Our nation is experiencing a great tragedy, and we are grateful to God that we have a place here where we can receive people who have lost their homes. Bishop Edward Kava asked us on the eve of the war if we could host people if necessary. We said yes, of course. And already on the first day of the war, the sisters from Kharkiv called and asked us to keep a place for 30 people. Around 60 or even 70 people arrived. While they were coming to us, we started receiving people from Poltava, Vinnytsia, Zaporizhia, Mykolaiv and other cities. People came tired, scared and they had to take a break from the hard road somewhere and then go on. I just remembered those first days, and you know why I'm very happy right now? When this group of women and children arrived from Kharkiv, everyone behaved very quietly. Forty children, but silence. We didn't notice it at first. And now, when it's loud here, and there are a lot of children everywhere, when you can hear them, it's so joyful! This is a sign that they have recovered. In the beginning, we didn't have a psychologist here, but apparently, this place and the Blessed Marceline did their job: they helped the children return to their childhood. They are very different, but I try to find an approach to each one. I talk to them in Ukrainian and teach them songs in Ukrainian — they quickly grasp. And I'm very happy that they love our weekly catechism meetings. I would even like them to be more frequent. Children are really happy and active. They run around the corridors, ride scooters and play on the playground; someone does homework in their room, someone "sits" on the phone, and someone is quarantined because of chickenpox — children are children," sister Tetyana Chop says.

Meanwhile, mothers also have their own responsibilities: they wash dishes, clean up, plant flowers and vegetables, and help around the house.

All these people know that they can stay in Yazlovets for as long as necessary.