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There are experienced addicts who are trying to find a way to free life in a commune

There are experienced addicts who are trying to find a way to free life in a commune. There are homeless people who are able to wash themselves in the center only once every three weeks. There are patients who have to pay for their pharma drugs and all medicines in the state hospital. There are disabled people after legs amputations who do not know how to deal the situation after surgery. There is a shining center of a city with million inhabitants and there are completely forgotten suburbs. There is imprisoned mercy, which cannot rise even in a half of century after communist prohibition! There is a priest who makes others feel pangs of conscience due to his beneficence, ideas, will, and strength.

‘All of the above is just a part of what I will think about after yesterday’s experience’, – Yuri writes in his blog; he and Izidor discovers problems of Ukraine. ‘I will think it over and over again when I remind Odesa and the day lived together with Fr. Vitalii СМ’. ‘Today you will learn some of our projects,’ – he said after the morning Mass having gained strength for a long Monday together with his sisters and brothers. ‘You will see why the icons on the walls of our chapel testify the actions of charity!’ And that’s true! The images on the icons and their actions were similar not accidentally. They visit sick people, they dress those who are naked, and they give food for starving … Every day at different ends of Odesa and in the suburbs.’

We have listened to the stories of abuse, destruction, suffering, alcohol, drugs, street life … and the stories about hope, trust, and awareness that love is the only solution on the other hand! Two years ago Fr. Vitalii СМ opened a door of the commune in a place where locals didn’t want to accept ‘drunk women’ in their village (which sounds familiar and home-style)! The priest responded to the resentment of the peasants: ‘People, our house will be the only one alcohol-free house in your village!’ There are problems with addictions in Ukraine that ‘are screaming to the sky’. There is a bakery nearby the house in a commune, and former addicts Kostia, Natalia and Svitlana are responsible for it; they are on their way out of the world of destruction. They bake some bread which is sold daily in local stores and some cakes; they serve for two communes and become more and more popular in Odesa suburbs. They take care about the house earning money; they earn money for themselves and learn that a person can survive with honest job.

Yuri writes: ‘Today I and Izidor were shocked for several times. One shock we experienced when we saw the trouble of people who are not able to get documents and safe shelters, they survive only due to the kindness of other people. Fr. Vitalii СМ says that we cannot even imagine how difficult it is to work in the field of charity in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Fifty years ago any charity was strictly forbidden. Everyone who tried to help those in need was persecuted as a criminal. It was forbidden! That’s why it’s difficult now to revive awareness that taking care on sick, elderly people, people with disabilities, people experienced different types of harassment is good.

When Lazarists began to share food between homeless people at one of the streets, other people were opposed to them. Take them away! Go away from our perspective. The city provided them with an abandoned cellar without electricity, where now services for forty people are daily provided. I can’t imagine where the project leader takes his energy for so many different fields of activity, which we lived during this day. I wonder how he can keep his remarkable optimism and energy experiencing all this including negative reactions and feelings of vain efforts. What the enlightenments are arisen in me due to the missionaries. That is incredible how much they can do, how they trust their mission, how much they can overcome which can be considered as impossible!’



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