WHO AM I?
My name is Rasa, I am 27 years old and I am taking my first steps to… Become a nun ! Yes, to serve the Catholic Church with all my life. Previously I studied french language and worked in several companies. Now I am entering the community of sisters of Divine Providence and I am here to share their story about a need to finish their mission place - an open evangelisation house in Utena, Lithuania.
WHO ARE THESE SISTERS OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE ?
This is a women religious Congregation founded in 1930 in Panevėžys, Lithuania by Marija Rusteikaitė. Her vocation was to be the instrument of merciful love of God for poor people of her time. Today sisters follow her example and serve the Lithuanian Church in three main areas: charitable, pastoral and educational. They are helping people to meet God in their own life stories. Sisters are active missionaries in such areas as Christian education in schools, pastoral care in hospitals, work in Children's Day Care Center in Panevėžys, evangelisation of youth and adults, interreligious friendship. Today they mission take place in Panevėžys and Utena, previously sisters of Divine Providence also lived and worked in Vilnius.
HOW DO I KNOW THESE SISTERS?
I first met sisters back in 2016 in Vilnius. What struck me at first was their openness and humanity. I saw how they search to provide people around them in a very material way but they also were deeply aware of human and spiritual needs - they found time for those who need conversations to share doubts or laughs, to be reconforted.
HOW DID IT ALL STARTED IN UTENA?
In 2012 two sisters Dominyka and Paulina moved in Utena, a town that neither they nor the Congregation wasn’t familiar with as a response to an invitation to continue other Congregation’s mission. Once arrived, Dominyka and Paulina didn’t know anyone. Sisters started to create the bond with neighbours and other local people to get to know them and their need, to know what their mission in this town should be. Soon they understood that this house that they moved in should not only serve as they living place but should be a mission place. This house should become an open spiritual oasis in the heart of the town for all people who search for spiritual reconfort, to meet God through prayer, conferences, retreats or spiritual guidance. It should be an open evangelisation house.
WHAT DOES EVANGELISATION HOUSE IS ?
The evangelisation house, which will be located in the Convent of the Divine Providence, will be a place where people can reawaken faith in their hearts, a house that is open for those who are searching, asking, trying and never stop believing that there’s always a chance to renew life and faith.
Concretely, this house mission will be orientated to youth and adults.
Weekends for youth. Different international and local Christian programs will be held: discernment of vocation retreat “Efata” ; “Let’s celebrate New Years differently ” for teenagers.
Retreats for adults. Retreats with companionship for small groups; retreats with individual companionship. Weekend about women’s identity.
Continuing programs of Christian education. "Weekends with theologian" - a three years program where lectors from VDU university, faculty of Catholic Theology will come to give lectures ; "School of Mary" - the 6 year program (3 sessions per year) that helps better understand what Christian life is.
WHAT DO I ASK DONATION FOR?
The house sisters arrived in was an average size family house and not adapted to welcome groups of people due to lack of space. A general house state also needed reconstruction. So sisters decided to take a brave step and with the grace of God and people to start reconstruction.
Reconstruction project now lasts for 3 years. Thanks to support of such fonds as Renovabis, The Papal Foundation, Archdiocese of Köln, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Episcopal Conference of Spain, The Kazickas Family foundation, Aid to the Church in Need and various Lithuanian companies there is exterior finishes and interior finishes in the second and the third floor.
Now it’s the last and the hardest part of reconstruction. In order that sisters could fully welcome groups the interior finishes should be done in the first floor and also all the installation of dining room and other spaces such as cloakroom, reception area. The totally sum of the project was 600 000 euros and to complete the reconstruction sisters are still in need of 62 000 euros.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO ME?
I truly believe that it’s meaningful to have this house in Utena. I was and I still am a witness of how many people come and has this thirst for silence, prayer, teachings to deepen or rediscover their faith. Thank you in advance for your support !