At the Chapter of Basilian Nuns held in 1902, the nuns from the Javoriv monastery expanded their ministry to Przemysl, present day Poland, to establish an internat (boarding house) for students of Rusyn heritage attending the women's teacher seminary and technical schools in the area. In 1904 the nuns found a permanent location on Kasprowycza Street. Later they purchased an additional building on Klasztorna Street. Before World War I about fifty boarders found a haven among their own Byzantine Catholics.
In 1945, after the storm of World War II, just a remnant of Basilian Sisters remained in Przemysl. Three Sisters were resettled in a Latin rite convent and one stayed in the Przemysl monastery with the Latin rite Sisters and the orphans placed there. Eventually the government also confiscated this monastery.
When the monastery in Slovita, Ukraine, was liquidated in 1947, Mother Ahneta Halamaj and Mother Elena Sladek escaped to Luban in 1949. In the fifties, three more Sisters found their way to Poland, two from Lviv and one from the Slovita monasteries. Father Pushkarskyj, Provincial of the Basilian monks, delegated to Mother Onysyma Szuszkiewicz the task of gathering the disbanded Basilian Sisters. With the blessing of the Archbishop of Wroclaw, Cardinal Boleslaw Kominek, a novitiate was opened in Lubonierz, and monastic life began anew.
In the nineties, after the fall of communism, the Przemysl monastery, which formerly also housed a dormitory, for girls attending local schools, was returned in a very dilapidated state and renovations began. A pastoral and catechetical center was established in Paslenk. In the Lemko area, a monastery was blessed in Gorlice. It is the nucleus of Basilian life and activity in this region.
The needs of the present-day Church dictate the forms of our apostolate. A deep spiritual life suggests possibilities regarding ways of carrying out our apostolate, appropriate to our environment.
Our apostolate includes:
Sister-catechists teach funda-mentals of religion, help children profess and understand traditions of the Eastern Church, prepare them to receive Jesus in Holy Communion. Sisters teach in schools, kindergartens as well as homes. As a rule, their work would be incomplete without staging nativity plays, concerts, various performances and competitions. Sisters arrange leisure activities for the students.
Work With Youth
Every year during summer vacation, in our Province Sisters organize recollections for the youth. In addition to spiritual conferences, girls have leisure time to get to know each other better, to hike in the mountains, visit churches and relax amidst nature. Sisters also provide accommodations for girls who come for higher studies at various institutions.
Depending upon the needs of a given parish, Sisters involve themselves in various activities: they bake “prosphora” (bread for the Eucharist), serve as sacristans, launder church items and liturgical garments, endeavor to obtain necessities for the church, and actively assist with preparation of parish feasts.
Natural abilities given each one of us - these God calls us to discover and develop. Some Sisters partake in liturgical singing, especially choral; some write icons, weave “chotky” and others readily decorate the church for various festivities. In this manner we, Sisters enrich one another with our talents.
Fostering Ecclesial and Folk Creativity
In addition to teaching children religion, Sisters teach children the Ukrainian language. Teaching takes place in schools. During language as well as religion lessons, children learn to understand better achievements of the church and folk creativity, the culture of their ancestors. Before Easter Sisters teach children to write “pysanky” (decorate Easter eggs), sing and dance “hajivky”(ritual spring dances).
Our life is one of service and each service contains within itself Christ’s command, that we serve one another with love. This then is the principal aim of our apostolate.