nuns: Ukrainian nuns open their monastery doors to the displaced

HOSHIV: Beneath the ancient oak forests of the Carpathian Mountains, a quiet monastery in the west Ukrainians Hoshiv village has transformed itself into a giant playground for dozens of children displaced by the war with their families.
Nins The Greek Catholic Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family, 100 kilometers from Lviv, provided shelter for about 40 people who had fled during fighting with Russian troops in the east and central regions. Ukraine.
The 59-year-old man’s song of birds and gentle prayer is a relief Ryma Stryzhkowho fled from Kharkiv.
“It looked like the plane was flying in the middle of the house. And you could hear the bombs,” she recalls. She often had to hide behind the car when she went to buy bread or medicine.
“After what we’ve seen, (the monastery) is a paradise.”
The monastery itself is a symbol of resilience, built after Ukraine’s independence in the early 1990s.
The former monastery in the village was closed by communist authorities while the area was part of the Soviet Union, and the nuns were sent to Siberia.
“All of our prayers are now focused on peace in Ukraine, for our soldiers, for the innocent people who have died, those who have been murdered,” he said. Sister Dominicachief nun.
Before the war, 17 nuns lived a peaceful life. In addition to their religious duties and charitable work, they also grow mushrooms, make pasta, and paint icons to decorate the chapel.
Now, they run after their children, support and advise their mothers and cook daily for dozens of guests.
“Everything in the convent is focused on prayer and order,” Sister Dominica explained. But when the Russian invasion began, they told local officials they could take up to 50 evacuees.
“We’ve adjusted our schedule of praying and working for the people,” she said.
Many children were smiling and hugging nuns who were traumatized.
“Initially, they were a bit tight-lipped. This is a new place for them. They come from cities where (there is shooting) there is constant sirens (air strikes),” she said.
But even in this peaceful setting, the nuns received notification of the strike on their smartphones. They alerted the remaining inhabitants by ringing the monastery bell, a sound less disturbing than the loud sirens in cities, and directed them down to the basement.
A temporary chapel there is decorated with pictures of the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus, a candle and a large cross made of twigs.
Mattresses, blankets and couches also fill the basement. One of the walls has “The Prodigy” written in chalk, a clear homage to the British electronic-dance band.
But even without the sirens, kids have fun using the underground cave space.
“We played and we said prayers,” said Rostyslav Borysenko, a 10-year-old who fled the siege. Mariupol with his mother. “It helps.”
His mother is still anxiously awaiting news of relatives and friends unable to escape Mariupol or having to be evacuated to eastern regions controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
Although thousands of kilometers away from the front lines, the conversation at the dinner table revolved mainly around the war.
While families broke bread in the dining room, the nuns ate their meals privately in the library, on a long table under the painting of the Last Supper. Among them was Josefa, 44, who was evacuated from a Kyiv monastery on the first day of the war. “It’s hard to leave where you already live,” she said. “Even though I may live here… my heart is there. And I’m waiting to come back.”

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