Stories of Joy - No. 3 - A blessed coincidence — help for widow in Ukraine left with 12 children

In Canada and Ukraine

The writing on the second envelope was not familiar. “Must be a new donor,” mused the Sister Servant to whom many had turned to obtain a name of an orphanage in Ukraine they could support. Indeed, the friendly letter in her hands from a retired teacher offering help stirred her soul with strange emotions. She had just put down her first letter from a recently widowed mother of 12 children to whom a caring neighbor had given the Sister’s name. True, the three oldest were already on their own, but the other nine? “What a blessed coincidence — thank you, Jesus!”

A cheque arrived swiftly, and when she received a most special thank-you letter, the teacher’s heart connected and an unbelievable story evolved. It was the month of September — the beginning of the school year — and the distraught mother was relieved as she tearfully reread the donor’s message and gazed at the enclosed cheque. Somewhere, in distant Canada, another Ukrainian mother was feeling her pain. Who is she? I and all my children will pray for this benefactor. “Thank you, Jesus, my neighbor was right when she told me God would provide!”

And for the next several years the teacher, Elsie, regularly sent four cheques yearly: at Christmas, at Easter, the beginning of summer, and the beginning of school. The correspondence passed through the Sister’s hands for the necessary translations from Ukrainian to English, and vice versa.

One summer Elsie planned a trip to Ukraine and met her friend, Anna, and her beautiful family. The Sister received a cherished photo of the ‘welcome banquet’ where Elsie is surrounded by a huge crowd of well-wishers headed by their mother Anna. As usual, Elsie had gifts for all! You can imagine her heart bursting with joy and compassion, as she feasted on the endless dishes of Ukrainian hospitality. Before she left, she was invited to the wedding of the oldest daughter at home which was to take place the following summer. She would not miss another cherished encounter with Anna and her family!

As the Sister gazed at the photo of the newlyweds she had just recently received, she prayed for all of these beautiful people whose charity had also enriched her own heart.

“Thank you, Jesus!”

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