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Sisters from Zhytomyr Abbey, Ukraine visit Erie

Sisters from Zhytomyr Abbey, Ukraine visit Erie

Mother Klara and Sister Maria, two Benedictine sisters from Zhytomyr Abbey, Ukraine, visited Erie and the offices of the Alliance for International Monasticism, U.S. Secretariat (AIM USA) specifically to give thanks to generous donors. They also visited Mount Saint Benedict Monastery to share with the sisters the current reality of living in war-torn Ukraine. AIM USA and the Zhytomyr sisters have been connected since the war began, with AIM USA helping to collect funds from its network of monasteries to send directly to the sisters in Ukraine for their efforts of supporting refugees and ministering to the suffering there. The sisters were in the U.S. with their translator, Abbot Marion, to visit some of the communities from around the country that have been supporting them. It was the end of May when they arrived in Erie

Navigating three different languages was a challenge: Mother Klara spoke Ukrainian, Sister Maria, Italian, and Abbot Marion, English. Gratefully no words were needed to express genuine concern and care.

The evening was reminiscent of Pentecost and speaking in tongues, when those gathered each heard what was being said in their own language. Pentecost is when the Church celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit, remembering it as the time the disciples overcame their fear of following the resurrected Jesus and his teaching.

Today, these sisters have no fear as they minister in such dangerous conditions. Despite the continued bombing and illegal drone movement above them, they no longer go to their shelter when the sirens sound. It is too disruptive of their monastic life and causes too much anxiety. Rather, they trust in God.

No one knows the future of Ukraine, but these sisters are committed to their life of monastic prayer and to helping the poor. Let us hold them in prayer.

Learn more about AIM USA here. Make a donation to support the work of Ukrainian sisters here.