Home Features Indian nun, companions shelter women, children fleeing war in Ukraine

Indian nun, companions shelter women, children fleeing war in Ukraine

The nun said the infant and her mother reminded her of Joseph and Mary fleeing Bethlehem to Egypt with the infant Jesus immediately after his birth

Little Michael was born on February 23, a day before Russian invaded Ukraine. After spending five days in a bunker, he felt safe in the arms of a Catholic nun.

Sister Ligi Payyappilly, an Indian nun who has been sheltering refugees in her convent in Mukachevo in western Ukraine, said rescuing the baby was the most touching experience in her mission among people fleeing the war.

“With the help of our prayer group members, the family was rescued from war-hit areas and brought to our convent five days ago,” said the 48-year-old member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Saint-Marc in a Global Sisters Report.



The nun hailed the infant’s mother, Julia Valatinivna, who held the baby close to her chest all five days in the bunker in Kyiv and during the long journey to Mukachevo.

The mother had fled from the hospital and took shelter in the bunker a few hours after she delivered Michael.

Sister Payyappilly said the infant and her mother reminded her of Joseph and Mary fleeing Bethlehem to Egypt with the infant Jesus immediately after his birth.

The mother and child are among some 80 Ukraine women and children sheltered in Sister Payyappilly’s convent along with 50 elderly people who are cared for as the congregation’s usual primary mission.

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“We have almost completed our evacuation mission of scattered and lost Indian students, and want to concentrate on Ukrainian mothers and children now,” Sister Payyappilly explained. The convent has 17 other nuns, mostly Ukrainians who assist Sister Payyappilly.

“Where can they go?” she said of those displaced by the war, who have become refugees in their own country and neighboring nations. “These people have nowhere to go.”

Read full story on Matters India

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