Five Basilian nuns, Mothers Magdalena Humeniuk, Irena Oleksiuk, Ahneta Cenkner, Basilia Hlibovecka and Markijana Matia, set out in 1921 from their monastery in Stanislaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk) for Uzhorod where they were invited to serve the Greek-Catholic faithful.
In the meantime Rev. Nichoas Rusnak, D.D., General Vicar of the Presov Eparchy, invited the Sisters to Presov to administer a boarding school for girls preparing to be teachers. They came August 25, 1922. In the years following Bishop Dionysij Narjadi was also their generous benefactor.
In 1929, Blessed Bishop Pavlo Gojdich, OSBM, procured a new monastery for the Sisters. Part of the monastery building became a dormitory for girls. Later Sisters expanded their activity to Medzilaborce and Secovce. They established kindergartens, taught in city schools and worked in Churches. Following World War II, Sisters cared for orphans in Stropkov and Svidnik.
After the war, persecution of the Greek Catholic Church and liquidation of monasteries started in Zakarpatia. For a brief period (1947 - 1950), Basilian Sisters found refuge in Czechoslovakia. In 1949, liquidation of monasteries began in Czechoslovakia. The secret police raided the Presov monastery and incarcerated some Sisters. Further raids were to pressure candidates and young Sisters to abandon religious life or accept Orthodoxy. After forty years of oppression, inhumane conditions of life, existence under constant surveillance and frequent relocation, Sisters found work with the mentally impaired in 1969 in Bardejov. Clandestinely, Sisters reestablished their monastic way of life, in Svidnik and Bardejov in 1969. Here through the spiritual efforts of Father Marian Potas, OSBM, new vocations were secretely gained. With the fall of the Iron Curtain, Sisters were free to spread their apostolate. They began to live and work in the Presov monastery in 1991.
The primary invaluable activity of the Sisters is prayer. Prayer - dialogue with God - is the source of spiritual strength and inner peace. Prayer helps us to discern God's will. It stimulates the love of neighbor and disposes one to forgive. In prayer our eyes are opened to the needs of others and the heart responds with generosity and service. Prayer helps us to endure trials patiently. It increases our zeal for goodness and peace.
Sisters of the Province pray the Divine Office daily. Besides private prayers, those who are not actively involved in apostolates also pray the Hours or recite Psalms for the various intentions of the Church, the Order, the needs of the world and people. Many people often come to the monastery, confide their troubles and ask for prayers. At the monastery, Divine Liturgies are offered for their intentions. Each month, Sisters gather together with lay people, to pray before the Blessed Sacrament for peace in the world.
Education and teaching
Sisters are engaged in educating and teaching, mainly in Presov at Saint Basil the Great High School and boarding facility for their students. At the high school, Sisters educate students, the future nurses, in the spirit of Christian morality. Attached to the school are, Blessed Pavel Gojdych, OSBM, School of Health Preservation and Social Work. For the high school and the faculty staff Sisters provide a family atmosphere of freedom, compassion, hospitality and ecumenism.
Catechization and religious upbringing - Sisters regularly teach religion in public schools and catechize in parish schools.
Pastoral Work with Youth
Spiritual Renewal Days - For students of higher studies and high schools, Sisters organize days of spiritual renewal, conducted by guest priests. Duration of spiritual renewal is from one to several days.
Youth Encounters - Sisters organize encounters for children and youth at the parishes. Their activities, among others, include working to help poor children in third world countries by receiving donation through caroling at Christmas time. The Sisters also prepare stage programs for various occasions, visit the sick and elderly.
Summer Camps "Basiliada"- In the Summer, Sisters organize and conduct summer camps for children (from the age of 6 to 15). During this time of relaxation amid nature, Sisters nurture the youth in a Christian spirit. Daily activities include prayer, trips, excursions, games, competitions, Bible study, singing, group living with others of the same age and nature appreciation.
Apostolate Among the Romi - Sisters are actively involved in the education of the Romi. They teach at the Preschool for Children, catechize and organize pilgrimages, summer camps and trips for children. Days of renewal for girls and encounters for Romi youth are planned. Sisters prepare the Romi children for the sacraments of Reconciliation, Holy Communion and Confirmation. Sewing, cooking and baking courses are offered for teenagers and adults.
Pastoral Work with Adults
In various monasteries in cooperation with the Eparchial clergy or under the direction of the Basilian Fathers, Sisters conduct monthly one-day encounters for women or a general encounter and adult catechesis. Once a month Sisters organize prayer meetings.
Ministry to the Sick
Sisters are engaged in nursing in a public hospital. Sisters attend to the elderly and sick Sisters and priests, also visit the sick, bring them food and help them with various needs. During vacation, Sisters work in a nursing home in Vienna, Austria, where they care for the elderly and sick.
Iconography - Sisters write a variety of icons based on different themes. The beautiful icons and iconostasis in the Sisters' chapels in Presov and Bardejov are written by Sisters.
Ecclesial Sewing - Besides writing icons, Sisters sew church vestments for Liturgical services, make banners for churches, altar linens and other items for use during liturgical services.
Participation in the Life of the Church and Society
Sisters also work in other areas of need, in ecclesial offices, and collaborate with various social and charitable organizations. Many Sisters are augmenting their studies, to prepare themselves for their ministry to the Church and God's people competently.