The situation in Ukraine is devastating enough, but it also touches our Congregation in a deeper way as we do serve and live in Ukraine and Belarus.
Here are some updates of our efforts in aiding the Ukrainian refugees coming into Poland:
Our Sisters in Zhovkva, Ukraine, by the Polish border, have spent the last days cooking and bringing food to the refugees, mostly mothers with young children, who have been waiting for up to four days in line to get to Poland. Many of them have left their homes in a rush, with no sufficient supplies. They are not able to purchase gas, so some abandon their cars and travel on foot. Sisters and the volunteers from their town assist them in any way they can.
Sisters in Chortkiv, south-east Ukraine, are in the zone of frequent air-raid alarms. They spend a lot of time in the classroom basement which they turned into a shelter. Some of their neighbors have also joined them there. Even though their ministry in the daycare is no longer active, for obvious reasons, our Sisters decided to stay in Chortkiv in order to be among the people they serve.
Sisters in Poland have also received the status of humanitarian assistance, which enable them to cross the border to bring food along with other necessary supplies. Many of our convents organize fundraisers, and some are already hosting groups of refugees. In the last five days, Poland received 450 thousand refugees.
The Russian army is also targeting civilian structures, including orphanages, which makes the evacuation of children all the more pressing. At this time, 8,000 orphans are on their way or are already in Poland. The superiors of religious orders were asked to take responsibility in receiving them and providing for them, and so we are receiving these children into our care.
In addition to basic human needs, many children will be in need of medical and psychological assistance, along with their education needs. We are also mindful of some children who have special needs.
At this time, we are not collecting clothing or any other items, as shipping them timely would be very expensive. We will forward all the monetary donations to our General House in Krakow, where sisters will distribute them according to the needs of their circumstance.
If you wish to support us in our efforts, please donate online via this link:
Your monetary donation will help us serve our brothers and sisters evacuating Ukraine who are displaced and ravaged by war.
Thank you and God bless you!
Here is a glimpse of how our Sisters in Poland are helping:
A word from our Mother Provincial Natalie, OP
The news of the dramatic situation in Ukraine has touched us most painfully. We are in constant contact with our communities in Poland, where Sisters are opening the doors to refugees, mainly women and children fleeing the Russian invasion. They will be in need of food and clothing, hygiene supplies and other resources. We also have two missionary communities in Ukraine that are now sheltering in place with people they minister to. Our Sisters in Poland are preparing the transports of supplies for them: hygiene kits, bandages, and medications, as well as non-perishable food items.
As many of you are aware, our own resources are severely depleted by the recent health crisis. However, we cannot remain indifferent to the sufferings of Ukrainians caught up in the madness of war. We will organize whatever financial support we can to assist our General House in providing relief to people in Ukraine as well as refugees coming to Poland.
As we are about to enter into the spiritual journey of Lent, let us offer our prayers and sacrifices for all the places where people suffer from injustice, unrest, and persecution. Let us open our hearts to them, and let us pray that the Lord will bless our world with the gift of peace.
Sr. Natalie Pekala, O.P. Provincial Superior of the Dominican Sisters