Greetings from Kiev

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Dear Companions, from 28th January to 2nd February sr. Archanjela CJ and me visited our Ukrainian communities.

On Sunday 28. 1. afternoon we celebrated Mary Ward week together with the community Uzghorod-Seredne sharing the spiritual joy and common table. Our meeting was an enrichment to us.

Next day, on Monday 29.1. we travelled to Kiev by car with sr. Anastasia. The journey took 11 hours. We passed the beautiful snowy Ukrainian part of Carpathians and later we saw the wide rich soil Ukrainian fields. Evening we reached the capital city Kiev exactly during the traffic jam. Although we have been to Kiev several times before, we have only now seen the country, as previously it was possible to fly to Kiev from Bratislava, which unfortunately is not possible at the moment.

In Kiev we met our Sr. Villana. Next day which was Mary Ward day 30th January we met the local bishop Vitalij Krivickij, originally Salesian religious. The bishop very higly appreciated the work and our ukrainian CJ members´ apostolate in Kiev, their courage, witnessing through helping others since the beginning of the war.   I communicated to him the fact that we in Slovakia and CJ worldwide are praying for Ukraine and for the early end of the war, and I especially spoke about the adorations that the sisters at the House of St. Joseph in Slovakia held for this purpose. The bishop was touched and expressed his special gratitude to all the sisters and sent his blessing.

In the afternoon we had a Mass in our community, celebrated by Fr. Michal, a Vincentian, who comes from Uzhhorod and speaks excellent Slovak, since he had his first religious formation in Slovakia. Later we enjoyed with sisters Anastasia and Villana a deep spiritual sharing about our Mary Ward week.

Next day we had a very pleasant meeting and Mass with all consacrated people living in Kiev and bishop Krivickij in the beautiful St. Alexander cathedral in the centre of the city. We had opportunity to know and talk with the brothers and sisters from the different congregations. Especially, Mother Teresa Sisters (MC) thanked us for the exeptional help our Sr. Anastasia provides for them and the poor who struggle in the destroyed villages near to Kiev.

After the Mass we saw the square Majdan and the near wall with the names and photos of many who have died during defending Ukraine in this was. We also saw the relics of tancs and cars and rest of a big missile.

Evening 1st February we returned to Uzghorod by a night train. Next morning, after having breakfast with our community there we left for Slovakia.

You might ask, how is the situation regarding the war. We will share with you what we experienced mostly in our hearts, how we perceived it. What is still resonating in us is that we esteem a lot the Ukrainian people. They seek to live and work despite the war in thei Country. In Kiev, the people go to thier work at mornings, their children to their schools and kindergartens, the young mothers push strollers with thier babies, in shops the people sell and buy… and in all of this you can hear many times a day the anti-missiles sirenes and allarms as the urge to hide in many basement shelters. Lots of missiles and drones from the enemy fall at night. You go to bed at night and you don’t know what the night is going to be like. In the morning you also do not know what the day will be like and what and where can “fall from the sky”. If you are a young man, you don’t know if on the day you wake up you won’t be asked to report to the frontal war line in a few hours. Also, if you don’t get a message that day that a member of your family has died or is injured in the war. In all of this, these people are trying to live as normal as possible and hope for a better future, and they have great faith that Ukraine will be preserved and will prevail. These people are equally very grateful for any support and prayers, and when you assure them of this they have great appreciation for you and would give you their hearts out of gratitude and emotion.

Let us continue to accompany them in prayer, especially our brave sisters in Ukraine, the Church there and the whole Ukrainian people, so that our prayers may be a support on which they can lean in this time of uncertainty.

Agnesa Jenčíková CJ and Archanjela Biathová CJ, Slovakia

Pictures used by kind permission of the CJ Slovak province and The bishop of Kiev and Zhitomir curia.

CJ Generalate