Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (Greek-Catholic)
In Ukraine the Congregation was founded on June 8, 1926, by His Beatitude Patriarch and Leader of the UGCC Andrei Sheptytskyi (1865-1944) as the eastern branch of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Belgium (established in 1837 in Deinze). In line with the common bilateral agreement of May 2, 1996, the Congregation gains the status of autocephaly and begins its way as the independent Ukrainian religious congregation of consecrated persons in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul. The present Rules and Statutes of the Sisters are composed in accordance with the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
From the very moment of its foundation and until now the charisma of the Congregation has been living in the spirit of its patron saint, St. Vincent de Paul: “Serving the poor, serving Jesus Christ. My daughters, embrace the truth that one serves Christ in a poor person. Ten times a Sister goes to the poor and sick, and ten times she meets God in them.”
The Sisters challenge themselves with keeping the Christian commandment of loving people through good deeds, serving and offering any kind of help to the destitute, to those who are the neediest in their physical, spiritual and moral needs.
Our Congregation’s coat of arms
Hands and a heart are pictured in the middle symbolizing charity. Two lilies entwine around them standing for purity and virginity.
In the upper part of the emblem a cross can be seen which symbolically stands for two roads that a Sister takes every day going to Christ, i.e., praying and working with her hands.
There is no crucifixion on the cross, because while following Christ who “came not to be served but to serve” (Mt 20:28), a Sister is crucified every day together with Him on this cross of her daily duties and sufferings.
She offers Him her hands to serve the neediest, and her heart, which is lifted up, to pray for everyone.
In the bottom of the emblem a roll with the inscription reading “ІСХС” and sunbeams are pictured.
The sunbeams mean that a Sister, having clothed herself with a new life in her Baptism, becomes one with resurrected Christ. He as “Gentle Light” comes into the world and with the streams of His love encompasses all her thoughts, longings and desires so that she can say along with St. Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
Presently, the Sisters carry out their ministry within 4 Ukrainian regions: Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil and Poltava. The Sisters effectively manifest their charity
as doctors and nurses in hospitals and International Foundation “Caritas”
running their own religious house “Bethany” for palliative care
offering pastoral and social attendance in their convent Church of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary
as Christian ethics teachers and catechists in schools and parishes
as professors of higher education institutions and members of UGCC Commissions
pursuing notarial practice
producing translations for “Svichado” publishing house
running a small family childcare home, where they bring up 6 orphans.