Just before World War II, at the request of the Basilian Fathers, two Sisters from the monastery in Pidmychajlivci, Halychyna, (Ukraine) went to Argentina in 1939. Mother Sofronia Erdely and Mother Marhareta Fendio volunteered for the mission. Metropolitan Andrej Sheptyckyj blessed them for this endeavor.
The Sisters landed in Buenos Aires harbor August 20, 1939 and settled in Apostoles, Misiones Province that had a sizeable Ukrainian population. The Basilian Fathers who had their monastery there procured a small house for a convent. Sisters began their many faceted apostolates among the faithful immediately but with great difficulties on the part of the Latin Church, which did not understand the Eastern Catholics and limited the Sisters' activity among the people. Sisters looked after the churches, taught religion, the Ukrainian language, and undertook the upbringing of children entrusted to their care. In the summer months, they traveled to the colonies* to teach catechism. In San Jose already during the first summer, Sisters prepared 75 children for First Holy Communion.
In 1940, the first candidate entered the monastery. With time, the number of Sisters increased. Sister Rafaela Kaszynski came to Argentina by way of the United States from the Pidmychajlivci monastery. After World War II, Mother Macrina Chudiak and Mother Maria Turkalo also, from Ukraine, came to Argentina. They contributed much to the development of the Province.
Understanding the needs of the Eastern Church, Sisters reach out in service beyond the confines of Argentina. They began the permanent ministry in Australia and were initially involved in establishing the mission in Brazil. In their own homeland, Sisters are committed to serving the Church and God's people with zeal.
*colonies - sparsely settled areas of land far removed from the city and hard to reach by regular means of transportation
Being carriers of God’s Word and of prophetic vision, Mother Sofronia Erderli and Marhareta Fendio followed the Gospel way of life as taught by Saint Basil. The example of their life of poverty and sacrifice, attracted many young girls who dedicated themselves to the service of God and the Eastern Catholic Church.Their ministry expanded into the provinces of Buenos Aires, Mendosa, Misiones and Rio Negro. Likewise, Sisters from Argentina serve in Rome. They went as mission workers to Australia, and stayed permanently.
Today Sisters continue to glorify God by their life and prayer. Their apostolate unfolded from simple and ordinary work, into a great educational endeavor in schools and institutions where children aged 3 to 18 are educated in the fundamentals of faith. Sisters care for homeless girls and the elderly. Their apostolate includes:
Providing havens for poor children,
Preparing children for receiving the Holy Sacraments,
Visiting the sick,
Pastoral work with families,
Guiding prayer groups,
Serving as sacristans and caring for the beauty of God’s House,
Nurturing folk traditions and folk art,
Teaching the Ukrainian language.
The Basilian Sisters in Argentina appertain to the Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church. The Church is being enriched by the apostolate of the Sisters who provide a Catholic education in four schools frequented by over 2,300 students.
Sisters administer two nursing homes for the elderly; provide boarding facilities for girls attending high schools in the city and provide care for children in two shelters for children. Sisters have monasteries and centers in Flores, Villa Adelina and Berisso in Buenos Aires; Bowen, Mendoza; Posadas, Apostoles, San Vicente and Alem in Misiones; and Bariloche and El Bolson in Rio Negro.
c. Caracas, 370
Tel.:(54) 114 613 3168
Fax: (54) 114 611 9945
Alem in Misiones
Berisso in Buenos Aires