The congregation of the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara has been blessed with many vocations in Ukraine. Currently there are no fewer than 13 young novices undergoing formation in the diocese of Ivano-Frankivsk, desiring to consecrate their lives for ever to the service of God and their fellow men. Most of them are young, being aged no more than around 20.
The sisters of the congregation accompany young people, organise retreat days, provide catechetical formation and care for orphans, the sick and elderly, who often live in great need in Ukraine.
Among other things, the young novices help in summer to organise holiday camps for children and young people, giving them an opportunity to take a break and enjoy themselves, but at the same time to deepen their understanding and faith in God. For these young sisters it is also a good exercise in the work of catechesis. Last year some of them travelled with a group of 50 or so young people to attend a youth meeting in Italy. Although the bus journey was long and tiring, they were all enthusiastic and inspired. Sister Maria Christiana, the novice mistress, recalls: „I have never seen young people so filled with enthusiasm at the truth and the experience of community.“ The sisters also organise walking pilgrimages to the shrine of Krylos, in Ukraine in the diocese of Ivano-Frankivsk itself. During the pilgrimage, a walk of around 25 km, they pray and sing, and the sisters are also available for personal counselling sessions, at which the young people can unburden themselves freely and put all their many questions about the Christian faith or their own personal problems. Last year some 400 young people took part.
ACN regularly supports the congregation for the formation of these young sisters, and this year we are proposing to do so again, with a contribution of 7800 Euros.