NCCB Office to Aid the Catholic Church <br> in Central and Eastern Europe

Albania - Armenia - Belarus - Bosnia-Herzegovina - Bulgaria - Croatia - Czech Republic - Estonia - Hungary - Kazakhstan - Latvia - Lithuania - Moldova - Poland - Romania - Russia - Slovakia - Slovenia - Ukraine - Yugoslavia

U.S. Dominicans Respond to Urgent Need

Contact: Sr. Lucianne Siers, OP

When an urgent plea for volunteers was made in August 1992 through the NCCB's Office to Aid the Catholic Church in Central and Eastern Europe, members of U.S. congregations of religious and lay men and women stepped forward to help. Among the volunteers, are nearly 30 American Dominicans from United States congregations who have assisted in the Church's Eastern European rebuilding effort. They contributed a variety of ministries which include the following:

The Oxford Dominicans supported and continued connections with their founding congregation in Slovakia throughout the Soviet occupation. Recently, they hosted two Slovak sisters who have learned English at a local college in Michigan.

The Adrian Dominican Sisters sponsored several teams to assist in Hungary, Transylvania (the Hungarian part of Romania), and the Czech Republic. The primary focus of their work has been to teach English. The sisters have sponsored summer camps which teach ESL to both children and adults. In addition, the sisters have assisted in grant writing and served as consultants to congregations in the areas of catechetics, spirituality and ministry. The Adrians have made contact with Dominicans throughout Hungary and have followed up on a number of supportive projects.

Individual U. S. Dominicans, some in their retirement years, others during summer vacations and sabbaticals, have ventured to Eastern Europe to assist in the rebuilding of the Church. Their individual responses have been most inspiring. For example:

POLAND : Sister Anna Kosenski, O. P., age 82, of Edmonds, WA, is now teaching English in the newly established girls I school in Mariowka, Poland. She has been invited to minister in Poland for three years. Sister Anna is enjoying a fulfilled dream with renewed energy in the land of her ancestors.

LITHUANIA : Sister Emeliana Judis, OP, age 75, of Grand Rapids, is teaching English as a Second Language in Panevezys. Sr. Emeliana has returned to Lithuania after having spent six weeks in the fall of 1994 working with catechists in the dioceses of Lithuania. sister Joan Beairsto, OP of Sparkhill, participated in a six-week summer training program for teachers (APPLE) , held in Lithuania. Sister Sandra Magnini, OP, also of Sparkhill, is also teaching English in a Catholic school in Panevezyz.

LATVIA : Two librarians, Sister Ruth Schneider, OP (Akron) , and Jeanne Marie Jones, OP (Grand Rapids), spent six weeks this past summer setting up the first theological library in Latvia. Many books have been sent from all over the world, but no one was there to organize the books for use. The sisters trained local personnel to serve the library in addition to setting up a most needed resource for the Church of Latvia.

RUSSIA : Sister Jean Reimer, OP (Grand Rapids) , spent three months in Siberia as part of her sabbatical year. Sr. Jean worked with the religious in Chelyabinsk and Vladivostok to serve both pastoral and health care needs.

HUNGARY : Sister Juliana Barilla, OP, age 84, and Sister Elizabeth Barilla, OP, age 80, (both of Grand Rapids) have returned to Nyiregyhaza, Hungary for their second year of teaching seminarians and doing pastoral work with the Greek-Rite Catholic Hungarian community in the Eastern part of the country. Sister Jean Duszinski, OP (Caldwell) , spent one year in Pecs, Hungary, teaching English in a newly established music school. Sr. Jean returned to Hungary this past summer to teach English with the Adrian Dominicans.

ARMENIA : Sr. Elizabeth Demirgian, OP (Adrian) has recently returned from Armenia, where she served for one month on a medical team providing health care to people in the villages throughout the country.

CZECH REPUBLIC/SLOVAKIA : In addition to the congregational and individual efforts, a team of U.S. Dominican Sisters visited the Dominican convents of men and women throughout the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Members of the U.S. team are: Srs. Carmelita Murphy and Phyllis Ohren, both of Grand Rapids; Sr. Helen Demboski, Dominican Srs. of Hope; and Sr. Ann Marie Rimmer of Caldwell. The purpose of their visit was to extend friendship to our brothers and sisters who were closed off from the Western world for more than forty years. Follow up communication continues so that some exchange of resources may take place.

Opportunities for participation include: encouraging members of religious congregations to become involved, sponsoring a sister within a U.S. community in order to learn English, providing support for a volunteer, sharing resources with an Eastern European congregation, and developing an outreach project within a congregation, group or conference. Contact Lucianne Siers, OP, Coordinator of Volunteers at the NCCB: Office to Aid the Catholic Church in Central and Eastern Europe. Call 202-541-3400 / 202-541-3246 for more information.

November 27, 1995

| Index | Home | O P Sites | Search |