Sr Murashko said she coped with the needs of displaced people by “sitting with the Lord quietly in the morning”

Article by Bess Twiston Davies and appeared on The Tablet Website 9th February 2024.

A Ukrainian nun living 50 km from the frontline has told British Catholic women that her community is struggling to help local people displaced by the Ukraine-Russia war.

Those displaced from villages and towns near the fighting are flooding into Zaporizhzhia, where Sr Lucia Murashko’s monastery is located in southeastern Ukraine.

She told the National Board of Catholic Women that her community of the Order of St Basil the Great is struggling to meet all the physical, social, and psychological needs of the displaced.

Every day, the nuns hear the sound of bombs falling on the frontline.

During a webinar on January 20, Sr Murashko said the initial flow of humanitarian aid to her region of south-eastern Ukraine was decreasing “but the needs of the people who have lost their homes and livelihoods do not go away”.

Jacintha Bowe, vice-president of NBCW, told The Tablet: “Sometimes the sisters find the demands of the people bigger than they can respond to and in these situations, they pray for, and with, these people keeping the candle of hope alive.”

Sr Murashko said she coped with the needs of displaced people by “sitting with the Lord quietly in the morning”. She explained to 40 women attending the webinar that her quiet time gave her “spirit” the “strength” to bring compassion to the people she would meet over the coming day.

“There is always so much to do,” she concluded.

Bowe said Sr Murashko’s words were a reminder of “the importance of sustaining our prayers for our fellow Christians who live day by day with the reality of war”.

Sr Murashko was one of five women to address Exploring Hope in the Context of Trauma, a webinar held in preparation for the 2025 Jubilee year whose theme is Pilgrims of Hope. Other speakers included Nikki Dhillon Keane, a therapist who helps survivors of domestic abuse, Sr Michaela Toulmin from the Bernardine Cistercian Monastery of Our Lady of Hyning in Carnforth, Lancashire, Jacintha Bowe, Patricia Stoat from the Justice and Peace Commission of Nottingham Diocese and Amy Cameron, the current president of the board of NBCW.

They reflected on trauma from the perspective of Scripture, Catholic tradition, psychotherapy, and personal experience.

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