Religious communities across the country provide shelters for Ukrainian refugees, offering 450 rooms in churches, monasteries and convents to accommodate those fleeing the Russian invasion.
Church groups have joined the call as concerns have grown over the refugees, who will have to be housed in tented camps as hotels run out of space.
37 religious orders have offered Ukrainians monasteries, retreat centers, former student housing and parish homes across the country.
In Co Roscommon, the Divine Word Missionaries in Donamon made their former seminary building available to the 70 refugees currently living there.
That’s what the Rector, Father George Agger (80), said. Irish Independent: “On Friday, March 18th at 10 a.m., our former student residence was an empty shell.
“By 8 p.m. that evening, we were ready to take in Ukrainian refugees.”
The seven mostly elderly priests “without hesitation” offered a building that housed more than 60 seminarians in the 1960s.
“We didn’t even talk about the consequences, whether financial or personal – we just said, ‘There is a need here.’ It is an answer to our Christian vocation,” he said.
“I call it ‘Miracle Friday’ because within eight hours 38 people lived in a very comfortable situation at the Donamon Fáilte Centre.”
On-site volunteers transformed empty rooms with linens and curtains, while Roscommon County Council workers got boilers, water systems and heaters running again after shutting down since 2018.
The dining rooms are all furnished with new tables and chairs and the laundry is operational.
The center has taken in two more groups of refugees after an initial reception of 38.
Father Agger said there were enough beds for 100 people.
Most of the refugees are adult men and women, but there are some children already enrolled in Roscommon schools. They are picked up by Donamon in a bus calling for other kids in the area.
The priests at Donamon have also remodeled their parish church to accommodate the guests, many of whom are of the Orthodox faith or of other rites.
30 Ukrainian refugees live in the former Presentation Convent in Fethard, Co. Tipperary.
Sr. Frances Crowe said so Irish Independent that with the support of Irish racing magnate John Magnier they renovated the monastery to make it more family friendly.
The sisters left the convent in 2020 and were in the process of selling it to Fethard Daycare Centre, but instead offered a lease so the center could receive and care for refugees.
Sr. Frances said, “John Magnier has 45 employees on his stud farm Ukraine. He wanted to do something for their families who were fleeing the war.
“We are happy to see the place full of life again.”
The Limerick Redemptorist community has now raised €550,000, according to Rev. Seamus Enright, Rector of Mount St. Alphonsus.
The convent is currently home to two Ukrainian refugee nuns, Sr. Antonia and Sr. Justyna, who work with the Limerick Ukrainian refugee community.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/christian-calling-sees-religious-congregations-find-450-rooms-for-ukrainian-refugees-41558138.html “Christian Vocation” envisages religious congregations finding 450 rooms for Ukrainian refugees