Following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, LCI sent out an emergency appeal and received over $50,000 in donations for the relief effort. With that outpouring of generosity, LCI was able to send funding immediately to alumni in Ukraine and the surrounding countries. Here is a letter from one of the beneficiaries of the funds which LCI was able to disburse. She is a close friend of Hana (LCI 2003-2004).
From the very beginning of the war, our monastery of the Pauline Fathers in Kamianets-Podilsky provided accommodation for internally displaced persons (IDP). Some of them asked for a one-night stay; other people were looking for a place to stay for more long time. Diverse families from the whole of Ukraine asked for shelter. There were people from Kherson, Hostomel, Brovary, Boryspil, Mariupol, Sumy, Kyiv, and Kyiv region. Some of them were Catholic, and there were several families from our parish in Brovary, but part of them met the Catholic Church, culture, and faith for the first time in their life. Some of the IDPs lost almost everything: people lost their homes, work, and even personal belongings. Some people had no place to go back to, as their homes and towns were damaged.
We organized basic living needs for them, giving them accommodation, food, and basic medical supplies. From March to June 2022, 60 people lived in our monastery. Besides that, about 200 people spent one or two nights in our house. The majority were women with children (about 20 persons from 2 to 17 years old). Also, we had some elderly people and some men who, due to their physical conditions or illnesses, were not able to join the army.
The Fathers tried to provide all necessary things for life and worked with them in spiritual development. They organized various lessons and workshops to help the children in this hard situation, as well as lectures for adults and young people. Most of them suffered tragic events during the first weeks of the war. They needed someone to take care of them, to listen to their stories, and to accept them. For many of them, the presence of the Fathers was a quiet gesture of acceptance and understanding. In April 2022, during Eastertime one couple was married. Another woman asked for baptism for her 2-year-old son. Those people were prepared for the Sacraments and received them.
All these activities would not have been possible without support from our friends and benefactors from other countries. Our parishioners helped us to prepare our house and food for the first time, and supported us with vegetables and other things. People from Poland sent us clothes, hygienic items and food, washing machines, dishwashers, chairs, and tables. In June 2022 when Russian strikes hit the fuel storage, we were given gasoline so that we could continue to support our activities. Other people sent us some money, so we were able to pay for gas, electricity, and water for all our guests. Some things we distributed to our IDPs, some things we sent to the de-occupied territories, some things we gave to the retirement home, which is located near our town, or to other people who asked us for help to cover their needs.
I would like to thank our friends from Slovakia and the USA for your prayers and support for us during these hard times.