Mission, Ukraine

Ukraine: The Light of Hope in the Dark War

Sr. Svitlana Matsiuk is from Ukraine and came to Rome in September as the Novice Directress. Beyond the struggles and sufferings that her people go through, she shares the hope, faith, and commitment for life and freedom that motivate the Ukrainian people to defend their country.

It has become habitual for me to check the news, at least three or four times a day, since the 24th of February, the start of the war in Ukraine. Since then, my country and my people are experiencing dark times.

I still strongly hold to the hope that there will soon be a time that war is no more and that there are no more missiles or drones destroying our cities, villages, our bridges and our people in the front-line who stand there courageously protecting our freedom and existence.

This hope is not naïve because it has its foundation on the constant prayer and consistent efforts to influence the situation and support the country. Since the beginning of war, we stand by our values and underestimate those problems of our day to day living, losing its significance before the painful impacts of war.

Life is main focus and value for us. We are enormously happy when someone comes from the front-line, wounded but alive. If our soldiers or civilians come back from the Russian prisons, it is a resurrection experience for all of us and specially for their families.

I want to share with you an actual happening during this war. Few months ago, there was an exchange deal which released from Russian prisons 202 soldiers. Among them was a nurse, who was about to give birth to her baby. She was captured by Russian soldiers in Mariupol while serving as a nurse there.

Most of her pregnancy time, she spent in a cell, sleeping on the cement floor. It all seemed that she had no chance to go back home. Fortunately, she was on the list for prisoners’ exchange. So just one week before the delivery date, she returned to her country. She gave birth to a beautiful infant girl. The Baby experienced being a prisoner and sharing the tough times with her mother. But this new life is a ray of light in the terrible reality of the war, we are going through.

Another happening that took place recently is about a boy in the Eastern Ukraine. His parents were killed at the funeral of a relative by a bomb. The boy stayed alone with one of his relatives. This part of the country is totally destroyed by the Russian army. All people fled from there.

The boy stayed on thinking that his parents would come back. Someone from that village told the Ukrainian soldiers who were deployed there that the boy is still there. The military formed a group and made a risky trip to get him out of that place. His rescue is a sign of hope in the total destruction and death.  In our context of war if you are alive there is always hope and life overcomes death.

Because of the recent destructions of the infrastructure by the drones, there is often no light, no electricity in our homes. Although, it is dark and difficult specially at this time of the year, our hope for life and freedom is kept even stronger than the darkness.

One can forcefully take away everything but cannot deprive anyone of his/her freedom, dignity and will for life. Only a slave wants to enslave others. Let our hope overcome the darkness that fills the mind, heart and ill will of our enemies. Let our hopes bring forth life and break the chains of terrible death.

Written by Sr. Svitlana Matsiuk