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Sisterhood testimony

Siostrzane świadectwo

I was born in Siberia – in the beautiful big city of Krasnoyarsk. I lived there with my parents and sister for a while, and then we moved to Ukraine because all my relatives live there.

During my childhood I never thought about a religious vocation because I also spent little time thinking about God. When I was six months old, I was baptised in an Orthodox church in Ukraine, but apart from that, I had only been to church a few times – at my friends’ wedding ceremonies.


For summer holidays we used to come to the countryside to my grandmother’s house. There I would sometimes go to the Catholic church where my grandmother would take me with my sister and our cousins. For us it was, you could say, more about visiting the church than praying. We usually ended up at bigger celebrations when there was a procession and we were asked to take part. We enjoyed that! Grandma occasionally told us something about God but it was not systematically. She didn’t teach us how to pray either, perhaps because she prayed in Polish and we didn’t understand any of it. In any case, she encouraged us to go to church.


In the nineties, my family had already settled permanently in Ukraine; I was 12 years old at that time. My attitude towards God remained neutral. One time, however, everything changed. My sister Alona went to church on Sunday with my grandmother and I stayed at home. On her return, Alona told me that she had unexpectedly happened upon the wedding of our Ukrainian language teacher from the technical school where we were studying. The teacher was from a nearby town but she wanted the wedding to take place in our modest church without much publicity. We liked this teacher very much and so my sister returned with great joy and great delight. The following Sunday I also went to church together with Alona. I think I expected something wonderful to happen again. And indeed something like that did take place… In church, we were warmly welcomed by Fr. Gregory Tomaszewski who immediately noticed the new parishioners. This man played a very important role on the way of forming my faith and vocation. He surrounded me with caring and fatherly love. God used this man to give me what I also lacked purely humanly because of my parents’ divorce – paternal support.


Soon the preparation for the sacraments began: catechesis, meetings, talks, a school of prayer. A few months later, I made my first confession and received First Communion. I was less than 17 years old at the time.

A year after my conversion, I was finishing a veterinary technical school and was thinking of working in this field but God had other plans for me… I don’t remember the exact moment when thoughts of a religious vocation arose but I began to consider this path of life. I certainly didn’t know anything specific about it, nor had I ever attended a vocation retreat. Our Loretto sisters, Sister Floriana and Sister Joachima who came to our parish on Sundays together with the parish priest, were able to introduce me to this topic a little. I saw them talking to people and trying to help them in difficult situations. Looking at the sisters also made me want to help others – especially the sick because Sr. Floriana often healed people and had her own tried and tested ways of doing so. However, I still didn’t really know what religious life was.


During one of the talks at the church, Sr. Floriana told me that a nun is the bride of the Lord Jesus. Then my desire to be a sister grew even more. I remember one time when I was coming back from technical school and walking down the street, I felt a great joy, thinking that the Lord Jesus would be my Spouse.

I told the parish priest about my desire to become a nun and he said that he had been watching me from the beginning and was not at all surprised. He just asked where I wanted to go. To this I replied that I only knew the Loretto sisters, so I was going to them. I then revealed my decision to Alona and finally to my mother who thought I was joking and tried to dissuade me from these thoughts. She didn’t want to let me go, especially because I had to go to Poland for formation and that would mean she wouldn’t see me for at least a year. However, I did not change my decision. I knew I just couldn’t do it. I felt that this world had become too tight for me: I had to move on and I had to do it immediately. Something was pushing me forward, some inner force: the grace of God. The Lord God Himself arranged everything very quickly. As if He was afraid that I would overthink. In a short time I had my passport made and I came to Poland for the first time on 15 August 1997. I went straight to the solemnity of my perpetual vows in Loretto where the parish priest brought me. The nuns welcomed me very warmly and I was pleasantly surprised. The next day I was accepted into the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Loretto in which I have remained with the help of God’s grace for 26 years. I have never regretted my choice or rather my response to God’s choice because a vocation is an undeserved gift.

Religious life is beautiful if the called person tries to be faithful to this call and always remembers that the most important thing is God and His voice. It is He who sets the way and leads the way Himself in order to make us happy to some extent already in this life and in all its fullness in eternity.

Sister M. Irmina


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