After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary responded to the Pope’s invitation to join the world in a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Ukraine on Ash Wednesday, March 2. That evening, the RSHM community at Marymount Convent held a prayer service for Ukraine. The service included a reading of the moving lyrics of Quaker singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer’s “Send Love, It Matters,” with the song’s last lines apropos of the current situation:
“Somewhere someone needs help. Send love. It matters.”Carrie Newcomer
The service concluded with the Ukrainian national anthem.
On that same day, while the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the immediate end to the hostilities in the Ukraine, outside by the Isaiah Wall, the NGO community of Religious Congregations of Women and Men, including members of our 93rd Street community, held a spirited prayer for the people of Ukraine. Sisters Anne Considine, RSHM, and Margarita Cardenas, RSHM, created blue and yellow stoles for participants to wear, and all had sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine. Sister Dusty Farnum, OP, invited those gathered to pray the Hail Mary – the first part in a language other than English, and the second part in English. The prayer started in 10 different languages.
Later in the month, on March 25, the solemnity of the Annunciation, Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary joined Pope Francis and Catholics around the world in lifting up to God, through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, “the cry of pain of all those who suffer and implore an end to the violence, entrusting the future of our human family to the Queen of Peace” as the Pope consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Holy Week services at Cormaria included prayer for the people of Ukraine and prayers for peace. Father Tim Brown, SJ, wove current events into the services, relating Ukrainians’ experience to Jesus’ Passion. The Stations of the Cross included photos and commentary from several Ukrainian women from Lugansk, Kyviv, Mariupol, Borodianka, and Kharkiv detailing their experiences of this war. Following is an excerpt from the third set of stations, praying for the strength not to look away from what is happening in Ukraine:
As the invasion triggered one of the largest refugee crises since WWII, with more than 6.5 million Ukrainians fleeing the country and displacing approximately one-third of its population, sisters in the convent, joined by the Area Council, contributed over $7,000 to support Catholic Relief Services’ efforts to provide shelter, hot meals, supplies and counseling support to the refugees. Additionally, sisters donated sweaters and blankets to a local Ukrainian church which distributed them to Ukrainians in need. These actions are just part of similar efforts taken by other Areas across the Institute to support those who have been impacted by this war.
While the war continues in Ukraine, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, like so many others across the country and around the world, continue to pray for peace, take action whenever possible and stand in solidarity with the resilient people of Ukraine.