loader image

Superioress General Visits Central Asia

April 1, 2024

Sister Françoise PETIT, Superioress General, with Sister Hanna CYBULA, General Councilor, visited our Sisters serving in two Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, from February 25 to March 4.

In Kazakhstan, called the Land of Martyrs, they were greeted with snowdrifts and temperatures of -23°C but warmly welcomed by the two communities.

Sisters serving in the three communities in Russia (two, belonging to the Slovak Province and one, of the Chelmno-Poznan Province) also came to meet Sister Françoise and Sister Hanna. It was an opportunity to get to know each other better and share experiences, joys and challenges of the mission.

They gathered at the home of the Sisters in Shortandy, a village about 70 km from the capital Astana. Vincentian priests also work in the parish and in collaboration with them, our Sisters care for persons who are poor, those who are sick as well as those without homes; they evangelize, catechize, and prepare adults, youth and children for the Sacraments.

Some Sisters accompanied Sister Françoise who visited several poor and sick persons in their homes. These people often live in difficult conditions, without heating, water or light, and in winter, with temperatures reaching -40°C. The Sisters listened to their stories of joys and sorrow. For them, the visit was meaningful – they felt listened to, honored and important.

The Sisters also participated in the Eucharist and met with parishioners – children, youth and adults. Each group wanted to welcome the guests and show their gratitude and appreciation. The Parish has 23 villages; in two of them, Petrovka and Novokubanka, the Sisters took part in meetings with parishioners, joined them in prayer, shared a meal at the common table. Children and youth graced the occasion with dance performances.

In the second community located in Makinsk, our guests were welcomed by children and young persons who presented Kazakh national dances in beautiful folk costumes. The Sisters visited those who are poor and sick in their homes, took part in a meeting with parishioners and those who come to the canteen. A joyful atmosphere pervaded the place amidst endless conversations and testimonies of faith.

Sister Françoise and the Sisters also visited the Museum in Malinovka dedicated to the memory of the women (62 nationalities) deported to the Alzhir labor camp, which operated from 1937 to 1953. It was deeply meaningful to celebrate the Eucharist in the local parish and learn about the history of a place, so permeated with pain and suffering.

On March 1, Sister Françoise and Sister Hanna flew to Uzbekistan where our Sisters have been serving since 2020. The visit, although short, was full of meetings on the wide-ranging evangelization work that the Sisters are undertaking there: ministry among children and young people at a day care center, assistance to families that are in poverty situation and to children with disabilities as well as catechesis in parishes. There was also an opportunity to visit the community of the Missionaries of Charity with whom our Sisters work closely.

The visit of the Superioress General and the General Councillor to Central Asia added to the Sisters’ enthusiasm and zeal for service. It deepened our view of the mission as part of God’s plan for the Company. Although we are separated by the difference in time and by distance, we are of one spirit and one heart, committed to serve Christ in those who Poor.