On Sunday, April 29, 2018, in the monastery chapel of Christ the King in Osijek, Croatia Sister Teodozija (Myroslava) Mostepaniuk made her Perpetual Profession.
The main celebrant of the Divine Liturgy was Reverend Mitred Protopriest Taras Barschevsky (assistant profession of biblical theology at the Catholic Theological Faculty in Zagreb), with concelebrants Reverend Father Myroslav Kernyshyn (Vicar of the Krizevci Eparchy in Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Reverend Father Lubomyr Sturkom (pastor). In his homily, Father Taras explained the symbolic meaning of religious vows as the renunciation of the world and the union with Christ, as portrayed in the Gospel reading about the Samaritan woman. This woman, emphasized the homilist, sensed a deep thirst and continually searched for the meaning of life, which evaded her. Her encounter with Christ, their conversation by the well, totally changes her life and, leaving her pitcher behind, she goes to call many other people to meet Christ.
Before this day’s event, Father Taras had had a spiritual day of renewal with the Sisters, based on the fourth chapter of Ephesians, when he shared with the Sisters his thoughts on the call to consecrated life in the monastery. To be called one needs to have a name, an identity. Answering the call of Christ, we become His voice for the whole world, becoming people of hope, a virtue that is not always popular in today’s world. Often when someone states that the world is getting worse, we who are called by Christ need to carry the hope and belief that God exists, that He is among us, that the world is in God’s hands.
Sometimes, our striving to find unity prevents us from accepting others, who may be different from us. It is then that we need to remember that in our diversity, we come together to create a magnificent picture of harmony, imagined by God. An example of the treasure that grows from diversity is the Saint Michael the Archangel Province in Osijek, which unites the Greek-Catholics of Croatia, Bosnia and Ukraine, as well as, new generations of Ukrainians who have settled and live throughout the world. It is from such diverse crossroads that the vocation to consecrated life took root in Sister Teodozija Myroslava Mostepaniuk, born to a Greek-Catholic family on March 9, 1986 in the village of Staromischyna in the Ternopil oblast in Ukraine. While studying at the Philological Institute of the Kyiv National University in the name of Shevchenko, she met Basilian Sisters from the Saint Michael the Archangel Province in Croatia, who have a mission in Kyiv. Finishing her university studies in 2008, she entered the novitiate in Croatia, where she made her temporary profession of vows on May 1, 2011 at the Motherhouse in Osijek. To honor and mark that her vocation was born on the hills of Kyiv, Sister chose the name of Saint Teodozij Pechersky, the founder of monastic communities in Ukraine. During her juniorate, Sister Teodozija completed studies at the Catechetical Institute of the Catholic Theological Faculty in Zagreb and ministered in the communities in Osijek and Prnjavor (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Regarding her vocation, Sister expressed, “These first ten years of monastic life have been a gift from God, an intense confirmation that God in alive, that He has touched my life, changed it. I thank God for the gift of life, for the gift of being loved, being happy, and for the call to consecrated life in a monastic community. I thank everyone for the numerous prayers, the sharing of their time, wisdom and support.”
Written by Sister Emanujila Vishka, OSBM