WINNIPEG — Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) Council president Janet Brunger welcomed 72 CWL members and guests on April 30 to the annual luncheon and presentation of years-served pins.
Invited guest, CWL provincial president Faith Anderson praised the council for its work, saying, “Councils are the unsung hereos of the league; parish CWL councils do all the work and the league gets the credit!”
After lunch there were presentations by two guest speakers from the Home for Hope: Lesia Sianchuk, CEO for the Lubov Sister Servants Mary Immaculate (SSMI) Foundation, an order of Ukrainian-rite nuns; Natalie Tataryn, a young woman who is living her faith by fundraising for the Home of Hope.
The Home of Hope is located in Lviv, Ukraine and is a safe house for 16-year-old and older girls who must leave the safe haven of an orphanage and have nowhere to go. The home, which has space for up to 23 girls and three SSMI to administer to it, teaches the girls employable skills and helps to keep them off the streets where they can be sexually enslaved and trafficked. Currently the home is filled to capacity.
The sisters are helping the girls to understand the value of helping others, and changes are happening quickly. The girls who have moved away are employed, married, and have established themelves. One girl thanked the sisters for being the parents she never had.
Tataryn spoke about how she was born in Ukraine 25 years ago and had to be placed with a family within a month or face life in an orphanage. Luckily, one of the sisters knew of a family looking to adopt a baby in Canada and her life was spared. Tataryn noted that many girls in an orphanage commit suicide before they are 16.
Tataryn feels a special kinship with the girls in Ukraine and started knitting toques to send them. When someone she works with wanted to buy a toque from her, she realized that it was easier to sell them here and send money to the home. She made over a thousand dollars before Christmas.
Last year Tataryn went to Ukraine to visit the girls and saw that the facility is truly a home. They communicated using Google Translate. She saw firsthand how the girls made meals, studied their courses and baked cookies for Ukrainian soldiers fighting the Russians.
The home was purchased by the Eparchy of Edmonton and the SSMI Foundation in Winnipeg manages it. Operating the home costs $20,000 per year.
Tataryn noted how the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada began serving Home of Hope brunch fund-raisers in 2014 and have raised over $90,000 in partnership with the Lubov SSMI Foundation.
“This is more than a Ukrainian issue,” says Tataryn. “It’s a global issue, a humanatarian issue, and a women’s issue.”