by Fr. Andrzej Mońka, OP.
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of JUSTWords. View online copy here.
It was obvious to us from the beginning that we wanted to help people who were forced to flee their own country because of the war. Since then we have had the privilege of hosting 145 people. Currently, we have prepared places for twenty people in our priory, and in the properties adjacent to our priory we have adapted five apartments for another forty people.
Today we take care of other needs of our guests such as finding a job or sending their children to school, while the first days after the outbreak of war were deeply dramatic. The Krakow train station was overcrowded just as it was at the World Youth Days in 2016 with the difference, however, that these people had nowhere to stay overnight. The cold of winter, unfamiliar with the category of pity, only made the situation worse. Nightly phone calls begging for help. A boy with a broken leg, a mother with a two-week-old baby, teenager showing us footage of his home razed to the ground. These images will stay with us forever.
In all this, however, we were able to experience that the good—given quickly—returns with its redoubled blessing. Guests who live in our monastery eat meals with us. On Sundays we have meals together with the families who live in the 5 apartments around the monastery. There is a lot of joy and a good, family atmosphere.
Very touching is the attitude of the mothers, despite their own need for support. They take care of their children, give them hope and encouragement. Most of all, though, it's very edifying that our guests do not lose their faith and try to see this experience in the light of faith. It is a great lesson for us.
Click through the slideshow below to see how Father Andrzej and Brother Thomas have been assisting refugees. Also, if you'd like to make a secure online donation to support Ukrainian refugees sheltering temporarily with the Dominican Friars in Poland you can make a gift here:
ENGLISH website: https://helpukraine.dominikanie.pl/
SPANISH website: https://ayudaucrania.dominikanie.pl/
Father Andrzej was ordained to the priesthood for the St. Hyacinth Province of the Dominicans, Krakow, Poland, on May 28. Before entering the Order of Preachers, he completed a degree in geodesy and cartography.
Click on the images below to view larger.