Dear Friends and Family,
How are you? I'm back in Russia as of July 7, and Sr. Catherine is right now flying to the US to be local superior for the next six months or so.
I wanted to let you know about a wonderful event that happened recently at our convent in Russia. Eighteen children from the city of Blagoveshchensk, Russia, traveled 26 hours by train to attend a Catholic summer gathering hosted in Dom Marii July 14-20, 2021. Two Dominican sisters and a Society of the Divine Word (SVD) brother chaperoned the kids on the train and led the week, assisted by Deacon Vicky, CJD and the three of us here (Sr. Catherine, Sr. Faustina and me). Children from our parish in Vladivostok joined us for this camp focused on the parables of Jesus.
Each day consisted of morning and evening prayers, morning exercise, a catechism lesson, an afternoon outing, and an evening of fun and games. The children swam in the bay near Dom Marii, saw a dolphin show at the oceanarium, and got to walk inside an old submarine. As many of the children from Blagoveshchensk had only attended Mass in a former apartment converted into a chapel, they were impressed by the sacred beauty of Most Holy Mother of God Catholic parish, where they attended Mass three times during the week. The children also had the blessing of attending Mass on Russian Island when Fr. Myron came one day to celebrate the Eucharist.
The children got to be the first to use the newly-renovated conference room, kitchen, and dining room in Dom Marii. Up to the day the children arrived, doors and sinks were installed, cement was cleaned from the windows, and construction materials were carried away. The conference room was used daily for catechesis, prayers, and meals. Breakfast and supper were prepared in the kitchen. Children helped wash dishes, peel potatoes, and fill tea cups. The dining room was used as the sleeping area for the boys, as renovations continue on the guest rooms on the second floor. The future chapel, also awaiting renovation, was used as the sleeping area for the girls.
Children ages 7-14 from Vladivostok and Blagoveshchensk formed close bonds during the week. When it came time to say good-bye at the train station, older children exchanged contact information and shed many tears. We thank God for all the graces poured out during this time together, and we pray the fruits of this event may continue to grow and multiply in the hearts of the children who came.
Thank you for your generosity in making this possible, by helping us to renovate Dom Marii! The children loved being so close to the bay and the woods. This week, ceilings will be put in the dining room/kitchen and conference rooms, and we are getting a new estimate on the roof.
With gratitude for your support and prayers,
Mother M. Stella, CJD