The Mission of the Vincentian Family in Ukraine: Hope and Resilience in a Time of War

by | Jun 16, 2024 | Conflict in Ukraine, News | 0 comments

From the Famvin Homeless Alliance.

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In Ukraine, we are living through the third year of war. During the first year, people experienced a desire to help, and the confidence that the conflict would soon end. However, as time has passed, the situation has changed: now a terrifying insecurity creeps into our daily lives, constantly accompanying us.

Kyiv enjoys good air defense, a source of comfort for many. However, the explosive particles from drones damage residential buildings, causing many casualties. Since last December, the city has been targeted by sirens and massive missile attacks. When we wake up at night because of the explosions, we hurry to pray the rosary, placing our uncertainty in prayer, putting our faith in the hands of the Lord. We are consecrated to God and live this consecration even in times of war. This is our space to serve, to give, to pray, to receive grace, and to respond to it.

As members of the Vincentian Family, also present in Ukraine, we feel our mission to participate in the mission of the Church and our small Congregation of the Sisters of Mary of the Miraculous Medal even more strongly. We try to be the voice of those who suffer, who have lost their homes, who endure all kinds of pain, and who are wounded because of the war. We bring the “good news” of consolation, giving strength to people to face difficulties and continue living.

Right after the territories around Kyiv were liberated from Russian control, we began visiting the villages that had suffered under the occupation. We found families who had lost their homes and, little by little, we realized we could help them rebuild by purchasing building materials. This service has been ongoing for two years. During this period, we have helped 30 families obtain housing. Our presence is “a light breeze of comfort” that helps them rise, act, and regain confidence.

I would like to share some stories that God has allowed us to witness.

Stories of Resilience

Micola remained alone in the village during the Russian occupation, while his wife and daughter with their newborn grandson fled towards the border. Their house was destroyed. After the occupation ended, Micola set up a small living space. When his family returned, they adapted to living in a small kitchen. In his despair, Micola started drinking, but thanks to the encouragement of his fellow villagers and our help, he found the courage to build a new house. Today, Micola has stopped drinking, and is rediscovering new possibilities in life.

Vitali repaired cars before the war. During the occupation, he and his family hid in a small cellar. The occupiers burned everything: house, garage, cars. After their return, the neighbors hosted them. The new house is almost complete, but there are still many internal works to be completed. Vitali and his family are looking forward to being able to live in their home again.

Valentina is a young grandmother who lived with her daughter and granddaughter. Their house, practically built with her own hands, was destroyed. After being forced to live in a rented apartment in Bucha, Valentina longed to return to her village. Thanks to our help with building materials, the community immediately started the work. Now, where there were burned houses, new ones are rising.

The mayor often praises his inhabitants, comparing them to “busy bees.” It is moving to see how the village, despite the atrocities of the occupation, lives with gratitude and joy. Helping is not easy, and accepting help can also be difficult. The presence of the good God guides us on how and when to approach people. We are truly included in a network of divine love and solidarity that unites many merciful hearts. In this time of war, our mission is clear: to be a light of hope and comfort for those in need, supported by our faith and the strength of the community.


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