Sister Theodosia Lukiw has been a member of the Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great, a Ukrainian Catholic religious order located in the outskirts of Philadelphia, for 73 years. SOAR! shared some of her story in a blog post a few years ago, and we decided to catch up with her.

“Sister Theo,” as her friends call her, now uses a walker to get around the Motherhouse. Her past ministries included: six decades as a grade school and high school teacher and principal; serving Superior of the Province; and as the Academic Dean at a catechetical institute in Ukraine in the 1990s. Today she lives full time in the Motherhouse, where she prays, enjoys meals with the other Sisters and participates in the life of her religious community.

Several times each day, Sister Theodosia uses her walker to make her way down to the chapel for morning prayer, Liturgy, midday prayer and vespers. Each time, she passes through the handicap accessible doors between the Motherhouse and the Chapel which were installed with the help of a SOAR! grant. Sister Theodosia has this to say about the SOAR! donors: “I want to hug these people and kiss them and thank them for helping us!”

Sister Theodosia “loves” living in the Motherhouse “because it’s peaceful and quiet. I look out the back side of the convent toward the woods behind us on the nice trees and the grass.” She is grateful that she is able to continue to live and pray with her community. She also has an added luxury she did not always enjoy over her decades of service — air conditioning! She says, “It’s comfortable with the air conditioning on. I can control it in my room by pushing a button.”

Twenty-four retired sisters live in the Motherhouse in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Most of them have roots in Ukraine or Eastern Europe. They watch the news daily to keep up with events in Ukraine and have sent two truckloads of supplies to Ukraine since the invasion began. They pray for peace in the chapel every day, and for the donors to SOAR! in thanksgiving for the improvements ensuring the safety and comfort of the Sisters.