With the blessing of Metropolitan Andrej Sheptyckyj, Mother Olena Langewich, and Sisters Paphnutia Timochko, Euphemia Kurylas and Jeremia Ewasiechko (then a postulant) set out from the monastery in Javoriv, Halychyna (Ukraine) for their mission among the Ukrainian immigrants. On November 28, 1911, they arrived in Philadelphia, PA.
Bishop Soter Ortynsky, OSBM, gave the Sisters a home near the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and entrusted them with the upbringing of orphans. Children under the age of six were placed in a home in Chesapeake City, Maryland in 1912. Eventually the orphanage was moved to a larger location on Lindley Avenue in Philadelphia.
To support themselves Sisters set up carpet weaving, did ecclesial sewing, ran a printery and a bookstore. In the 1920's, under Metropolitan Bohachevsky, a parochial school system evolved. Sisters immersed themselves in educational work in parish schools.
In 1926 property was obtained in Fox Chase, PA, where the motherhouse monastery and novitiate were moved. In 1930, during Mother Josafata Teodorowycz's term, the present monastery and Saint Basil Academy for girls were erected. The annual Mothers' Day pilgrimage begun in 1931 is held now on the first weekend of October. In 1947, Manor College was founded in Fox Chase. The Holy Trinity Chapel and Basilian Spirituality Center, a long time dream, became a reality in 2000.
With the demise of the Soviet Union history has come full circle. Contacts with Basilian Sisters in Ukraine have been renewed and an outreach program of sharing spiritual, human and material resources bridges the communities across continents. The Holy Spirit which guided the Founding Mothers continues to lead and inspire the Basilian Sisters of the Jesus Lover of Humanity Province to be creative in their lives of prayer, dedication and service to the Lord.
Sisters serve in the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, PA, and in the Eparchies of Stamford, CT, St. Nicholas in Chicago, IL, and Saint Josaphat in Parma, OH. In addition to prayer, their ministry includes education on all levels, pastoral ministry, retreat work, catechetics, communication, eparchial chancery support, cultural folk art and youth ministry.
Fox Chase Manor, PA
St. Joseph Monastery is the Motherhouse of Basilian Sisters and the seat of Province leadership. The community of Sisters who teach and serve in various ministries and the elderly Sisters, that support them by their prayer, service and sacrifice, live there. The old Academy residence hall, Saint Macrina formation house, a farmhouse, barns, cemetery, grotto, Manor College and St. Basil Academy are there.
Community Life - Holy Trinity Chapel is the center of Sisters’ spiritual life where Sisters gather for daily worship, pray the Divine Praises, participate in Divine Liturgy, and spend time with God. This prayer flows over into their life in community, which sustains them in their daily life and apostolate.
Spirituality Center is a place for sharing the rich spiritual heritage of Eastern Christian Spirituality through reflection, prayer and learning to refresh both soul and body. Programs range from iconography, retreats for students and clergy, women’s discussion groups, prayer weekends and individual direction.
Basilian Associates are faithful that participate in the good works and spiritual graces of the Sisters. The Associates gather regularly to pray together with the Sisters and assist them in the apostolate.
Ecclesial and Folk Arts and Crafts – depending on their talents, Sisters engage in music, iconography, writing poetry, making “pysanky” and “gerdany” (bead weaving), embroidery, crafts, etc.
Sisters are involved in school administration and teaching on all levels. Sisters teach various disciplines according to particular state and diocesan requirements. Education includes religion, heritage studies, Ukrainian language and participation in religious worship and activities.
Catechization: - Sisters prepare children who do not frequent Catholic schools for reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. They also catechize on other levels in Saturday Schools.
Parish Elementary Schools: – Sisters teach in parish schools in these cities: St. Nicholas Cathedral School in Chicago, IL, St. Josaphat Cathedral School in Parma, Ohio, St. Josaphat School in Philadelphia, PA, and Saint George School in New York City, NY.
Saint George Academy, a parish high school where Sisters teach, is located in the Manhattan, N.Y.
Saint Basil Academy, a Catholic all-girl high school, grades 9 to 12, opened in Fox Chase Manor in 1931. Sisters teach and administer the college preparatory high school.
Manor College, Jenkintown -Sisters administer, teach and run – America’s premier two-year career-oriented Catholic institution at which students have a choice of a variety of programs in Liberal Arts. The Dental Center, Ukrainian Heritage Center and Museum, Basilead Library as well as the soccer field, are located on campus grounds.
Sisters minister in the chanceries of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia and the Eparchy of Parma.
Sisters administer and coordinate activities of the Pastoral Ministry Center in the Eparchy of Parma. They visit parishes with Eastern Christian Spirituality programs, print materials on Eastern Spirituality, give lectures, produce various catechetical and audio materials on the subject, catechize adults, conduct workshops for catechists, etc