Maria Ward House of Education in St. Pölten/Austria (MEP) became a hostel

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Sr Gertrud Zenk reports how the Maria Ward House of Education in St. Pölten/Austria quickly became a hostel for people seeking shelter after fleeing their home country. Maria Ward stands at the entrance to welcome everyone and tell them: “Jesus bless and keep you and everyone in your country!”

Since February, we have had refugees in our house. First a group of minors from Somalia – Syria – Afghanistan and a group of young Syrian men. In a short time, we have been able to build up such good relationships with each other and have experienced a lot of helpfulness from them. They all enjoyed their stay at the Lilienhof. They were then distributed to flats in the city.
Then the people from Ukraine came and we suddenly had about a hundred refugees from Ukraine with us. Now we have been the first reception centre for refugees from Ukraine for three weeks. That means there are always 70 – 100 people here, who are very warmly welcomed and lovingly fed. The police have an office with us so that everyone is registered – the X-ray bus comes every other day. According to the federal epidemic law, they all have to have their lungs x-rayed. And when they have completed all the formalities, the “Caritas hub” – in our building – places them in flats. Caritas does great work for the people. The staff with Ukrainian roots have been specially selected so that contacts are easier. – I can’t tell you how happy and grateful I am that we were able to hand over our house in time and that it helps and shelters people in this way. My fellow sisters notice this again and again.
It touches me deeply in my heart and I notice how I follow a piece of Jesus’ way of the cross in my encounter with these refugees, when I look into their anxious and worried faces – see many crying – the pictures from the news – the suffering inflicted on people ……..Thank God, the children in the garden are happy and creative. They are out riding their bikes, playing with the ball, exploring our garden and fascinated by the millstream that runs through our garden.

Sr Gertrud Zenk CJ (MEP)
Carla Bellone