Sisters of Mary of the Miraculous Medal dates back to 1878. Back then, on July 18, the first three Sisters in Ljubljana (presently – Slovenia) received their habits as a sign of their belonging to God and got the message to serve the needy. In this way, the life of the new institution – the Congregation of the Sisters for care of the sick – began. That moment in Congregation’s founding can be interpreted in the light of God’s Providence. Its founder, Leopoldina Brandis, had strived for almost 20 years to solve the issue of helping lonely unconnected and sick persons who were left without care and medical assistance by both the state and existent religious congregations. Epidemics of contagious diseases burst out, different political changes took place in the society, which resulted in people’s becoming unprotected, lonely and poor. Leopoldina Brandis heard their cry for help. She receives it without any doubt, as a sign of God’s will that must be done. Therefore, she had to organize girls, provide them with necessary formation, write down rules for them and entrust that ministry of caring for lonely and sick persons to them. Sisters could do that; they even kept a vigil at sick people’s bedside in their homes at night. Thus, the urgent need of the time started getting its solution.
Leopoldina Brandis was a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. In her perspective, the Sisters for care of the sick were assistants to the Sisters of Charity and worked under local superiors. It was the case up until 1926, when a new stage in the development of the Sisters for care of the sick came, which resulted in their becoming an independent congregation. Further on, the Congregation goes through different trials until it receives its affirmation from the Pope on December 8, 1978. So, presently our title is the Marian Sisters of the Miraculous Medal.
Sisters of Mary of the Miraculous Medal are present in the following countries:
The Congregation has also been active in Kyiv, Ukraine, since 2005.
“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
The Virgin Mary revealed Her place in the salvation history, and through Her words of obedience God became a man. For the Marian Sisters, these words of the Mother of God are a priceless gift. So, they put them into life through prayer, ministry and life in a community.
Besides, the Miraculous Medal the Marian Sisters receive when joining the Congregation is their perceptible sign. The Marian Sisters get their inspiration in the example of the Virgin Mary who hurries to meet her relative Elizabeth. Leopoldina Brandis wrote: “The way the Virgin Mary hurries to meet Elizabeth, the Marian Sisters should hurry to enter the homes of the sick and needy in order to bring them help and consolation.”
Leopoldina Brandis was St. Vincent’s faithful follower. She passes his legacy on to the Marian Sisters, too. Following the example and teaching of St. Vincent, while serving the sick the Sisters serve Jesus Christ Himself who is present in the sick and the needy. The main virtues help them in that: charitable love, purity of heart and thoughts, simplicity, humbleness, kindness, great respect for human dignity.
The field of ministry is very diverse. Prayer is the source of ministry. That is why ministry is a response to challenges of God’s Providence and cooperation in Devine activity, rather than just some work to be done.
Sisters derive their strengths for life and service from the Eucharistic sacrifice like from a spring
Together with the Church, they pray the Liturgy of the Hours
Reading and reflecting on Holy Bible is their daily spiritual food
Through the Holy Rosary prayer they are in communion with the Virgin Mary
Through the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament they deepen their relationships with the Lord
They search for the reconciliation with God in the Sacrament of Confession
Every month the Sisters hold a one-day retreat, which is a time of silence and communication with God
They participate in spiritual exercises annually
The Marian Sisters take perpetual vows of:
Living in a community
The Marian Sisters live in a community in order to:
together serve brothers and sisters in actual spiritual and material needs
share life joys and difficulties
develop personal skills to serve others
Sisters’ life in Kyiv in brief
In 2005, the first community of the Marian Sisters settled down in Kyiv and began its activity in cooperation with other branches of the Vincentian Family. Together, we take care of the sick and homeless. We visit them in hospitals. We serve bedridden patients in their most urgent bodily needs: hygiene, medicaments. We strive to be their defenders and helpers in their papers restoration or else in handling the formalities for their admission to a shelter respectively. We involve willing volunteers in this charitable activity.
Moreover, we participate in the Vincentian Family School for Volunteers. The activity of the School for Volunteers is all about our caring for volunteers’ personal development, the experience of self-denying work. We hold charity fairs together with volunteers as well as other events to help those in need, etc.
Besides, the Marian Sisters together with the Fathers of the Mission in Ukraine distribute the Miraculous Medal (the Association of the Miraculous Medal, AMM) in parishes, spreading the good news of the protection and help of Virgin Mary Immaculate. There are over 3,500 Association members in Ukraine presently. https://www.facebook.com/AMM.Ukraine/
Marian Sisters annually organize the following programs for the youth:
Cutting and sewing courses
Group “Samuel” (open for young people aged 17 to 35 who have not yet decided as for their future life and wish to embrace that what God desires for their future. In “Samuel” Group we search for answers to the question “What is my life road?” (family, priesthood, consecrated life, missions, volunteer ministry).
The way to read Bible – Lectio divina. “Lectio divina” is a personal or group reading of a passage from Holy Scripture. “The intention of Lectio divina is to arouse and nourish real and durable love for Holy Scripture which is the source of spiritual life and apostolic fruitfulness. It also promotes better understanding of the Liturgy and gives Holy Scripture an important place in the process of theological formation and prayer” (L’interpretazione della Bibbia nella Chiesa of April 15, 1993).