Nora Bourke RSCJ details the efforts RSCJ in the Ireland-Scotland Province have been making to help Ukranian refugees.
Our first call came from the parish of Priorswood, where RSCJ had worked in the past. The community rose to the call and prepared boxes and labelled them, as requested . The delivery time was scheduled between 7 and 7:30 p.m. They were so organised, we drove in and saw the vans being loaded. They helped us to unload and were kind and helpful to us. That night, the vans were on their journey by ferry to Poland.
This was followed by many other communities helping and the clothes were delivered to the Moran Hotel at the Red Cow early on a Sunday morning. Subsequently many communities, including Cedar House, contributed, along with lay people. We received toys and clothes. As the hotels and organisations did not have storage, we eventually found that thirteen cafés in Dublin were run by Ukrainians and were willing to accept these items. So on Good Friday morning, a convoy of three cars and four community members set out, laden with bags and boxes. We arrived at our nearest coffee shop and the staff helped us unload. The best part of our mission was meeting the person who was there, ready to take all of it to the Ukrainian Hub in Clarendon St., where all items are given free to Ukrainian families.
Since then, more hubs have opened and thank God they are all doing well.
The movement of peoples began in Ireland in March, initially with those who knew Irish people or fellow Ukrainians. By now (mid-May), we have 30,000 refugees and over 8,000 children already placed in schools throughout the country. This has urged us on. Having Sr. Kata Heim in our midst in Armagh inspired our associates to organise a coffee morning, at which £ 2,300 was raised. This will be brought to our sisters in Hungary who are assisting the refugees. Inspired by the generosity of families in Ireland and our sisters in Poland, we are making a house on the Mount Anville property available. This house, St. Jude’s, has been empty since the maintenance man and his wife died. Thankfully, it was found to be dry but in need of some improvements. Connecting with the Irish Refugee Council and a local non-profit charity, we have come across wonderful experts who are genuinely keen to have this house made available as soon as possible. The charity DARA will help with the furnishings once the renovations are finished.
Nora Bourke RSCJ