• October 22, 2013

My daughter and her community
see the beauty and dignity of each lonely soul

Denise, Regina & Amanda at Univ Monastery

By Denise MacMurtrie

When our 18 year old daughter Regina was told she was being sent to Ukraine as a Heart’s Home vol­un­teer, our whole family had to look it up on a map. What an unbe­liev­able blessing it was for me and my youngest daughter Amanda to spend two weeks with Regina in Eastern Europe learning first-hand about her life in Heart’s Home! Our trip was more than a vaca­tion—it was a pil­grimage and a time of retreat. We spent our first five days in Poland, vis­iting the shrine of Our Lady of Czestachowa on the feast of the Assumption, and in Krakow, exploring the beau­tiful city of Blessed John Paul II. They were won­derful days, spent re-con­necting with Regina before heading to her new home in L’viv, Ukraine.

At the time of our visit, Regina lived with two lay con­se­crated women (as they were expecting two more vol­un­teers due to arrive in October and November). Aude and Maria whole­heart­edly wel­comed Amanda and me with loving hos­pi­tality. We ate deli­cious home-cooked meals that blended the Ukrainian cus­toms and cuisine with those of the Heart’s Home mis­sion­aries’. Friends vis­ited freely each day and the com­mu­nity was always eager to offer tea or set an addi­tional place for dinner. There was always so much joy around the table as friends obvi­ously felt wel­comed and accepted in the simple, warm apart­ment.

It was a very pow­erful expe­ri­ence to go with Regina to the nursing home or to spend time with home­less women in the park. Regina was so excited to bring us to meet her dear babu­cias. In spite of the dreary, unpleasant con­di­tions, I watched faces light up as Regina entered each room. One friend shared her per­sonal story, others joked with Regina in, what seemed to me, an ongoing banter. Regina trans­lated for us and it was obvious that the visit from Heart’s Home mis­sion­aries was a bril­liant ray of light in an other­wise monotonous day. Visiting home­less friends in the park offered another view of this min­istry of com­pas­sion. I thought, “How many people pass by, hardly noticing these lonely souls?” Yet Regina and her com­mu­nity have eyes to see the beauty and dig­nity of each person and value the moments they spend sit­ting, sharing, and laughing together.

Joining the prayer life of the Heart’s Home com­mu­nity was my most trea­sured part of our visit. Hearing Morning, Evening and Night prayer (of the Liturgy of the Hours) being recited and sung in Ukrainian was beau­tiful and moving. We prayed a daily rosary and attended daily mass at the Greek Catholic church or the Polish Roman Catholic church. I had never expe­ri­enced an Eastern rite liturgy before and it was very rich—I felt as if I were touching his­tory as well as the Heavenly Banquet. My favorite time of the day was the hour of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament in their simple chapel. Words cannot express the grat­i­tude I have in knowing that Regina spends time each day in the Presence of Christ. It is cer­tainly this daily per­sonal Meeting that allows each Heart’s Home mis­sionary to easily and freely brings the love of the Lord to every friend they encounter. I thank God for this beau­tiful mis­sion, and that He has called my daughter to be part of His work.

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