Mother Yelysaveta (Alitsia) Poppe, founder and superior of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy of St. Vincent De Paul in Ukraine.
Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy of St. Vincent De Paul in the underground with superior, Mother Alitsia Poppe, Lviv, July 19, 1953.
|A monastic life in underground had its own peculiarity and unique experience. The monastic clothes had substituted by the civil ones. The monks and nuns did work of teacher, physician, and even ordinary worker. They executed their spiritual functions in hidden way. Because of the persecution the monks and nuns were forced to live in small groups (2-3 persons) into the houses of the greek-catholic laity. Therefore, an underground monastery did exist there where just a few person of the monastic state lived. Despite the hard condition of the function of monasteries, their members tried to follow certain regulation in the underground cloisters. As a rule, several male orders took care (i.e., celebrated Mass, administered the sacrament of Confession and Holy Communion, taught) of the certain female communities: the Basilian priests served the Sisters of St. Basil, the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, the Sisters of Holy Family. The Redemptorists served the Sisters of St. Vincent, Sisters of St. Joseph, and certain Sisters of St. Basil. The Studite took care the sisters of Studite order.
In the time of underground there was not essential difference between the missions and pastoral activities of the sisters of different orders. All they mainly catechized and prepared the children and adults for Baptism, Confession, Marriage, helped to ill and solitary old people, organized the secret Liturgy and informed the faithful about it, distributed the religious literature, hid Holy Gifts.
Superior of the Sisters of Mercy of St. Vincent De Paul in Ivano-Frankivsk from 1926 to 1948.
Among the nurses of Hospital No. 3 (formerly the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Clinic) are Sisters of Mercy of St. Vincent De Paul, Lviv, 1960-65.
The community of the Sisters of Mercy of St. Vincent de Paul was founded in Denze, Belgium.
The first sisters from Ukraine began their novitiate in Belgium.
Metropolitan Andrey (Sheptytsky) founded the first house of the eastern branch of the community in Stanislav (currently Ivano-Frankivsk). The sisters took care of orphans, while completing their novitiate in Belgium.
Another community house opened in Lviv. The prioress was Sister Elisabeta (Alicia Poppe, a Belgian). The sisters charism was to look after orphans.
Construction of the Peoples (Sheptytsky) Hospital began.
The Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul started their work in the day clinic.
The hospital was officially opened, staffed by the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul (management and medical personnel). The prioress of the Lviv monastery, Mother Elisabeta Poppe, was the administrator of the hospital.
First arrival of Soviet authorities (in western Ukraine), nationalization (confiscation) of monastic property. Metropolitan Andrey gave the sisters shelter/refuge at St. Georges in Lviv.
The sisters returned to their living quarters/apartments at the hospital.
The sisters began a novitiate program, based on the hospital grounds.
Coming out of the underground. Sisters in habit going to Shevchenko Grove, Lviv, 1990.
In the chapel of St. Georges Metropolitan Palace
The Soviet government arrived a second time. The sisters property in Stanislav was nationalized (confiscated).
The Prioress of the Stanislav monastery, Sister Olha (Emma de Clerk), was forcibly deported to Belgium.
The sisters in Lviv were forced to move 5 times, but were able to continue to maintain their monastic community (28-30 sisters)
The novitiate program was restored. The first underground candidate was Anna Pandrak (Sister Mykolaia).
In the time of the underground, the sisters consistently worked in state jobs. Most of them continued to work at their former jobs at the 3rd City Hospital (the former Peoples Hospital). Their spiritual directors were the Redemptorist Fathers. Bishop Mykolai (Charnetskyi) turned to the sisters when he returned from exile in 1957.
October 12, 1970
Death of the head prioress, Sister Elisabeta (Alicia Poppe).
Sister Yevfymiia Kutsyna temporarily assumed the responsibilities of prioress.
Sister Yeremiya (Iryna Poburynna) was chosen as the new provincial prioress. The number of sisters increased, and from that point in time they lived in the monastery. Other than serving in their official state jobs, the sisters helped the underground Greek Catholic priests in their pastoral ministry and also took care of them.
Participation in the movement to legalize the UGGC.
Emergence from the underground (49 sisters, 34 who had taken their final vows)
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