Pa. nuns collect donations for nuns in Ukraine

JENKINTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "My heart is right now breaking because they have actually devastated our country," said Sister Susanne Matwijiw.

Sister Susanne's Ukrainian ancestry runs deep. She is one of 30 nuns with the Jenkintown branch of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great. A majority of them have Ukrainian families and some are even from Ukraine.

"We have a fantastic culture with wonderful people," said Sister Susanne. "So, when I think of it right now, I am sick to death knowing what in the world are these people going to do?"

Sister Susanne is speaking about the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine. The conflict has caused great destruction in the European country, but has also spurred a movement of good will across the world.

That's why the Jenkintown sisters are collecting donations of clothing, toiletries, and medical supplies in order to support their fellow Sisters of Saint Basil who are native to Ukraine.

"We're going ahead and doing what we need to do in our province, but we are concerned about 120 Sisters of St. Basil in Ukraine at the present time," said Assistant Provincial Sister Dorothy Ann Busowski.

In keeping with their faith, even the sisters overseas are focused on helping others in need.

"They actually have taken people in that have become homeless," said Sister Dorothy Ann. "So, whatever we're sending there, they will be able to distribute."

Today, the sisters accepted thousands of socks from the Radnor-based nonprofit, Joy of Sox. They have also received generous donations from local religious institutions. Those, in addition to prayer, are shining a light during these dark times.

Sister Demetria Tydir, who is from Ukraine, spoke to Action News in her native language. Sister Susanne translated, saying, "She has hope and she has faith that perhaps Ukraine will be victorious."

To learn more about the Sisters of Saint Basil and their ongoing humanitarian efforts, visit their website.

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Patrick Long and Joe Hogan, both Bucks County residents, said they felt compelled to help since they both have the resources.

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