Villa St. Benedict in Lisle raises over $9,000 for Benedictine Sisters in Lviv, Ukraine

  • Villa St. Benedict in Lisle raised close to $10,000 to go to the Benedictine Sisters in Ukraine who are helping to feed and house refugees.

    Villa St. Benedict in Lisle raised close to $10,000 to go to the Benedictine Sisters in Ukraine who are helping to feed and house refugees. Courtesy of Villa St. Benedict

 
 
Updated 5/3/2022 5:07 PM

Residents and staff of Villa St. Benedict are holding a fundraiser for a Benedictine Sisters monastery in Lviv, Ukraine.

The independent living, assisted and memory care senior living community in Lisle was founded by Benedictine Sisters of the Sacred Heart Monastery.

 

The residents and staff wish to continue the mission of the Benedictines -- "a commitment to use the time, talent and resources of the community for those in need."

Currently, 13 Benedictine Sisters live in Sacred Heart Monastery and are still involved with the residents and staff at Villa St. Benedict.

There are two Benedictine monasteries in Ukraine, in Zhytomyr and Lviv. The Sisters in Zhytomyr had to hide in underground storage when the bombings started. On March 2, the bombing intensified in Zhytomyr. The sisters, along with three families, had to move to the cathedral for shelter. The sirens went off four times within five hours. The next day, they heard that a nearby school had been bombed. Mother Klara decided on March 4 to close the gates of their abbey and with the three families, drive to Lviv. They arrived at Saint Joseph monastery in Lviv safely. St. Joseph monastery continues to receive and shelter migrants fleeing from Kiev, Mariupol and other destroyed cities. Some intend to cross the Polish Ukrainian boarder, about 40 miles west of Lviv. Others are in search of a home because their homes have been destroyed.

The Benedictine Sisters have chosen to remain in Lviv and tend to these refugees.

Villa St. Benedict has chosen Alliance for International Monasticism USA for handling the donations and distributing the needed items to the monastery. The Alliance for International Monasticism promotes cooperation and solidarity among monasteries throughout the world. AIM responds to the needs of monasteries in the developing world by supporting mission communities in their birth, growth, developments, trials and difficulties.

Villa St. Benedict is receiving emails from Sister Ann Hoffman, director of AIM USA, on updates about the Benedictine Sisters along with pictures. On April 6, Villa St. Benedict held a Zoom call with Sister Ann so she could give a presentation on AIM and answered any questions residents and staff had about how the donations and supplies that is needed would get to Ukraine. Sister Ann has shared emails she is receiving from Sister Maria Ludmila OSB, 33, "Dear friends, for the first time in two weeks I open my laptop to write something. For the first time in two weeks of the war, I can do it without leaving my backpack on the first floor by the door. The sirens are heard much less here in Lviv and the bombs have not yet fallen as they did in Zhytomyr. From the sky, however, the noise of military aircraft comes constantly. We have been here, in this new house, for seven days now, but it seems like an eternity. Behind us we witnessed endless bombings in all the cities we passed through. And then an endless stream of people. Now I see the horror of war no longer on the news. I see it in the eyes of the people I meet. These are families who have already seen tanks in the squares of their cities or who have had their homes destroyed. They knock on our door without knowing anyone, they see the monastery on the street and they come and ask for refuge. Western journalists often come to us, they want us to say something; we show what we do for these people. Because the people who are here cannot speak or tell what they experienced before arriving here. They just cry. And words of thanks. The mother of a child who is only 15 days old -- born in the war -- and who fled with her after giving birth, asks me with daze: "Are we already in paradise?" I have no other words to say. Only numbness of pain. Amazement and misunderstanding for this injustice. And if I had to write at least one sentence, I'd say: I don't want to hear this noise of planes in the sky anymore. "

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She continues saying Western journalists have written articles describing their heroism. "There is no heroism here. Offering a bed and food to those who have none is not heroism. It is human," Sister Maria Ludmila said in the email.

The residents and staff of Villa St. Benedict collected donations in April. For more information about AIM USA, or to make a donation, go to www.aim-usa.org.

For information about Villa St. Benedict, contact the sales team at (630) 852-0345 or info@villastben.org.

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