"We ran to the buses to go back to our country. Families that wanted to go to Poland with us were standing near our buses."
When war broke out in Ukraine, the Dominican sisters, despite the risk of losing their lives, did not leave the bombarded country. They stayed “at their post” to bring aid to their neighbors. “Dear ones, we are caught up in the war machine, we are powerless against it and that is why we ask you to pray for our intentions,” said Sister Mateusza, who asked for spiritual support since she’s staying in Ukraine.
“In Chortkiv the sisters spend most of their time in the shelter (due to the air raid alarms). Sisters in Zhovkva help and distribute food to people in lines at the border crossing. We also support those families who come from Ukraine and often have nothing with them,” report the Dominican sisters through their website.
“We want to take action, it gives us wings!”
The sisters launched a fundraiser for the needy, which received an immediate response from many people. Thanks to the funds raised, the sisters were able to purchase and deliver to Ukraine the most necessary things: water, food, equipment, medicines, cleaning supplies, etc.
“To Broniszewice, to the boys’ home, every now and then new vans arrive with gifts from you! We act, we want to take action, it gives us wings,” we read on the profile of the Home for Boys in Broniszewice, run by the sisters.
Many volunteers have come to “Bronek,” offering their help — selflessly, free of charge, out of the need of their hearts. One such person is Mr. Pawel Dziedzic.
“He volunteered to go to Ukraine to pick up the children of our workers, Ola and Ivanka. (…) Mr. Dziedzic did not want money for this. Heroes are among us,” wrote the Dominican sisters.
Sister Eliza Małgorzata Myk, who had just come back from Zhovkva near Lviv, described in moving words the world she saw after crossing the Polish-Ukrainian border on the fifth day of the war. She shared on Facebook on 2 March 2022:
(…) At the border we met a group of about twenty men. Ukrainians waiting for a ride across the border to fight. The Polish guard was eagerly looking for places for them in our buses. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a single one because the buses were loaded to the brim. Border guards and customs officers from both sides were very kind to us. We quickly found ourselves in Ukraine. There Liana was waiting for us with the logistics of this project. They were the ones who escorted our column of buses through the military patrols located every few kilometers on the road to Zhovkva. In Zhovkva, Sister Mateusz and young boys were waiting to unload the buses. In less than an hour all the things were already in the warehouse. Kamil’s van filled with medicines went to the crisis center. Then Sr. Mateusza took us for dinner to the monastery. At that time Sister Sara and Sister Juventus were at the border with hot soup to give a warm meal to those who had been waiting for three days to leave Ukraine. They are very brave. When the war started, they decided to stay with the people in Ukraine.
After lunch, Sr. Mateusz went with our Daniel to Lviv to pick up the three ladies who were packed in the car but had no driver to take them to Poland. At that time there was a missile alert in Lviv and Zolkva. Mateusz’s sister and Damian were then walking through Lviv to the waiting women. Keeping their cool, they luckily arrived. (…) After their arrival from Lviv, at the instructions of Sister Mateusz, we ran to the buses to go back to our country. Families that wanted to go to Poland with us were standing near our buses. Sister Mateusza asked how many seats we had, but – as it turned out – it was not important. All those who needed it, although there were more of them than places, after five minutes were already on their way with us, towards the border. In the morning they did not know that this would happen. Neither did we. Sister Mateusz gave them a sign that they were to come to the monastery in an hour and they could escape to Poland. They had small luggage. Two young mothers with four wonderful children aged 2 to 8 got into the bus in which I was riding with Kamil. I asked them where they were going. They said they were going to Warsaw. The three women, whose driver was Damian, said that it did not matter to them. “They just wanted to get away from Ukraine as quickly as possible,” they said. They had two dogs with them. They cried with emotion when I told them that our sisters in Krakow were waiting for them and not to worry.
We reached the border quickly, thanks to Liana and the escort. The crossing on the Ukrainian side went very smoothly. The guards were grateful that their sisters and brothers were able to evacuate to Poland (…)