The war in Ukraine began in earnest in 2014 with a fratricidal struggle for the Donbass region. The situation in the country has been very difficult in recent years - war, industrial decline and the economic situation have led to unemployment, poverty and crime.
The Daughters of Charity have been present in Ukraine since 2019 in Smotrych - to help the elderly, sick and disabled in the House of Mercy and in the villages. In 2020, Sisters began ministry in Mariupol, caring for the poor and sick in the war zone, and volunteered at the hospital in Mariupol.
Since 24 February, the war has been destroying everything across the country and the situation is becoming tragic for the people. Air raid warnings followed by bombings are multiplying. Everyone is living in terror and uncertainty. It is becoming increasingly difficult to access basic necessities.
In Smotrych, the Daughters of Charity continue to care for the 30 sick, disabled and elderly people currently living in the House of Mercy and travel to the villages to help the most vulnerable, as soon as the situation allows.
In recent weeks, they have seen thousands of people fleeing eastern Ukraine flock to their homes, stopping for a few days before they can cross into Poland.
The situation is catastrophic:
The aggression of the Russian army is becoming more and more cruel and brutal. More and more towns and villages are completely destroyed.
People are beginning to suffer from hunger and cold, living in shelters without electricity or heating (in Ukraine the night temperature is currently below zero).
Some of our residents still remember the Second World War. Holed up in the corridor with the lights off during air raids, we see them upset at having to relive these traumas.
The villagers we visit are also very afraid. Few of them have the physical ability to flee or have no access to solid shelter during the bombing.
The war is pushing thousands of Ukrainians who have lost their homes or fear for their lives onto the roads. We welcome women with their children, the elderly and orphans in rooms set up as dormitories for the occasion.
All of them come to us exhausted. Some of them have recently arrived from Kiev after an arduous journey of more than 400 km.
In our house, the refugees rest for a few days, regain their strength, eat, wash and are cared for. We also try to maintain a calm atmosphere before their departure to the border countries, the majority of which are heading for Poland.
Our great apprehension stems from the impossibility of shopping. When the alerts stop, a sister accompanied by Father P., the priest of the House of Mercy, goes out to buy what they can find, but the difficult transport of goods has led to a shortage of basic products. Food, medicine and hygiene items are becoming increasingly scarce.
Your help will allow us to buy these essential products, indispensable for the survival of all these people who are counting on us. These products will be bought in priority in Ukraine if we can find them, and if this is not possible, our sisters in Poland will bring them to us with a humanitarian convoy.
Without you, we will not be able to continue to welcome either residents or refugees.
A big THANK YOU for your help and your indispensable support
In 2017, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian charism, the Polish Province sent three sisters to open the first house in Ukraine in Smotrych. In 2019, 9 sisters went to help in the war zone of Donbas for several months and in 2020, two sisters moved to the same region in Mariupol to help the people on a daily basis.
The sisters are responsible for "The House of Mercy", a retirement home for 25 people. They also visit the sick and the isolated, bringing them comfort and medical assistance.
Extra-curricular activities are also offered for children aged 6 to 18. The Rosalie Projects recently helped finance a playground and the creation of a computer room.