The search for nuns ready for apostolic work and sacrifice began in the 60's of the past XX century after the settlement of Ukrainian refugees in Australia and the erection of the Apostolic Exarchate. Bishop Ivan Prasko turned to the General Curia of Basilian Sisters in Rome, and approached Josyf Cardinal Slipyj, with a petition to send nuns to Australia.
At their urging Mother Claudia Feddish, General Superior sent a request for volunteers to the Provincial Superior in Berisso, Argentina in 1966.
On July 8, 1966, all the Sisters gathered to bid a tearful farewell to Mother Maria Afinec and Sisters Anisia Szewczuk, Constantina Zapaia, and Lucia Anheluk as they left the familiar shores of Argentina, first for Rome, Italy. There, the General Superior and the entire General Curia greeted them warmly. After stopping at the holy shrines and prayer at the altar of Saint Josaphat, Martyr for Unity, they visited His Beatitude, Josyf Cardinal Slipyj, Confessor of Faith. They continued on to Australia with his blessing, accompanied by the icon of the Mother of God. Sisters arrived in Sydney on March 28, 1967.
In 1970, Sisters founded a monastery in Melbourne and in 1977, another one in Adelaide.
Basilian Sisters are an indispensable part of the Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church and the faith community in Australia. Their mission is to support the faithful in upbringing their children and grandchildren to know and love their religious and folk heritage.
Sincere love for others, much patience, energy work and prayer is needed to achieve these aims. Recognizing the needs of the people in Australia, Sisters perform various ministries, and in this way pass on their skills and wisdom to future generations.
Their ministry includes:
- Catechetic classes in Ukrainian Saturday School at Saint Andrew Parish
- Preparing children for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist
- Leadership of young groups such as Legion of Mary, Altar Boys, Apostolic Prayer Group
- Conducting community work programs developed by the youth of Sydney
- Directing Youth Church Choirs in Sydney and Adelaide
- Day care and schooling for children ages 3 to 5
- Teaching folk traditions and customs
- Preparing children for programs on special occasions
- Visiting and sustaining the ill, elderly and infirm in hospitals and in their homes
- Care for the wellbeing of the parish priest to free him for ministry in the Church
- Maintaining the cleanliness and aesthetic appearance of the church.
Sisters have monasteries in North Melbourne in the Province of Victoria and Lidcombe (Sydney) in the Province of New South Wales. From these centers Sisters reach out in service to the nearby parishes. It is difficult to imagine any holiday or festivity without the presence and participation of Basilian Sisters.
*Saturday School – An educational system established specifically for teaching literacy of a specific culture.
Sisters of St. Basil the Great
30 Shiel Street
North Melbourne, 3051 VIC
Tel./Fax: (613) 93 290 749