By Jenny Healy
Headline news this year has often been on the topic of Russia and what is happening there with the economy, politics, and foreign affairs. Well, there is also other news which I would like to share with you about what is happening in that country, the world’s largest, involving LCI graduates, evangelization, and expressions of Church unity.
Last summer LCI graduates Ksenia Smirnova and Olga Koren helped prepare three Franciscan University students for a mission trip to Magadan, in Far East Russia. Ksenia and Olga gave Katalyn Miller, Hannah Castree, and Theresa Weisbrod Russian language lessons and helpful tips about Russian culture and what differences they could expect to experience. The the three young women went on to serve at the Catholic parish in Magadan for six weeks. Fr. Michael Shields, the missionary priest stationed there writes, “The young Russians searching for a relationship with God who would never come into a church came for our English classes and the relationship has led some to begin a walk into faith… Jenny, I am aware that Russia is at a distance and Magadan even more so. But I also saw the benefit we received and the young women as well.”
(For information about the Magadan Summer 2015 mission trip and how you can be involved, send an email!)
As for expressions of Church unity, LCI graduate Lola (Raykova) Kretova is helping LCI bring the One Faithart exhibition to Moscow in April 2015. This exhibition includes works by Russians and Americans, Orthodox and Catholics, Byzantine and Roman. It includes artists from China, Romania, Slovakia, the UK and USA, and elsewhere.
What all the artists share in common is faith in Jesus Christ. Open to the public, it serves as a visible sign of faith in the One who overcomes everything that divides.
Finally, I am very happy to let you know that Russian-American friendships forged at the Kartause are going strong: last summer LCI graduate Fr. Andrej Porubcin hosted Fr. Ron Mohnickey, TOR, in Moscow, and likewise Kate Semchenko invited Caroline McCaughey to spend two weeks as her guest, also in Moscow. And Ksenia Smirnova is glad to be spending several weeks in the USA visiting friends, including me in New Hampshire for Christmas!