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YEKATERINBURG

▪ From April 11th to 22nd Sr. Izabela Świerad, accompanied by Sr. Maria Landsberger went for visitation to Jekaterinburg, where Sr. Katharina Gołub (Ukrainian), Sr. Karolina Słomińska (Polish) and Sr. Irina Cziczerowa (Russian) face a challenging mission as the only Catholic Religious in a city of 1.5 million inhabitants. The visitors witnessed the growth of the parish and the depth and warmth of the faithful. They also saw the reality of the consequences of the communist regime that heavily struck the Church.  Srs. Izabela and Maria had the opportunity to visit the Orthodox Church, which was built above the place, where the last Czar family had been cruelly killed. A visit to Bishop Joseph Werth of Novosibirsk also gave them a picture of the difficulties of an ecumenical dialogue that is still refused by the Russian Orthodox Church. Their participation in the celebrations of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday in the parish of Ekaterinburg and in the Chrism Mass in the Cathedral of Novosibirsk, were the high points of this special Holy Week for the Sisters.

From 12-22 April 2011 Sr. Izabela Świerad, our Superior General, accompanied by myself (Sr. Maria Landsberger) travelled to Jekaterinburg in Russia to visit our Sisters. The city with its 1.5 Million inhabitants, named after Tsar Katharina I (1684-1727) and St. Catherine, is situated at the border between the Ural area and Siberia and belongs to the Asian continent.

Contrasting reality

When we arrived at the Sisters´ place on April 12th at 5 am, a warm air received us at the entrance of the house. We got used to sweat in Siberia! The heating systems are not adjustable and one has to save oneself by flinging open the windows. The outside temperature between 8 to 15 degrees Celsius above zero was extraordinarily mild for the season; last year it had been 17 degrees Celsius minus. But a cold wind often made a thick anorak very useful.  Our Sisters Katharina Gołub (Ukrainian), Karolina Słomińska (Polish) and Irina Cziczerowa (Russian) live in a simple, but friendly flat on the 8th floor of one of the typical red high-rise buildings.  In their small chapel we first thanked the Lord for our good trip. Then they presented wonderful red roses to greet us. In the early morning we had a nutritious breakfast, with the common Russian mayonnaise salad.

Left to right: Srs. Izabela, Katharina, Karolina and Irina.

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From 10th to 21st June 2006 a group of Poles from Yekaterinburg stayed in Warsaw. The purpose of the visit was an advanced Polish language course combined with lectures: on history, art and Polish culture and sightseeing of the capital and surrounding areas.  Their teacher Sr. Mirosława Włodarczyk SAC was the initiator of the whole excursion.

Bishop Tadeusz Płoski with the students in the courtyard of the Military Ordinary of the Polish Army.

Almost every day, after the morning classes, they walked the streets of the capital, to get to know places more specific to the history and to "breathe" the homeland.

- For me it's first visit to Poland - says Dmitry Mezencew. - So far I was most impressed by the Royal Castle and the Corpus Christi procession.

- My parents lived in areas which were incorporated into Russia after World War II - says Nel. - After the war they came to the Urals. I was born in the middle of taiga. In Russia I stayed on forever, but the roots are not forgotten. My heart is in Poland.

- I loved the Ordinariate Field, where Bishop Tadeusz Płoski invited us. I sang with the bishop, "Crazy fairs" and songs of Niemen - confides Połuektow Nicholas, who alone in the group does not have Polish roots. In the 80s he became fascinated by Polish music. He learned Polish language as a student himself, because wanted to know what the rockemen over the Vistula sung about.

 

Followed: „Życie Warszawy”, 17-18.06.06 and  „”Gość Niedzielny”, 25.06.06.

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Poles deported to Siberia


It is estimated that in Western Siberia there are more than 60. thousand people with Polish roots. How many Poles live across Siberia and Russia? It is not known. No one has conducted such an inventory. During tsarist times there have been about 500 thousand. Poles, and from January 1940 to June 1941, the Bolsheviks deported about 1.5 million inhabitants of the eastern Poland to Russia.

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