Toronto SSMI Vestment Sewing Department celebrates
25 years under the directorship of Sr. Anne Marie Kozakewich

The year 2013 marked the 25th anniversary of the re-opening of the Toronto SSMI Vestment Sewing Department, under the directorship of Sr. Anne Marie Kozakewich, after the sudden passing of its previous director, Sr. Julianna Pankowski, in 1987. As such, the SSMI Vestment Sewing Department has been serving our Church with clerical vestments from its first days, but these last 25 years, under Sr. Anne Marie’s direction, have seen a number of innovations and a broader clientele, and has served to train laity and young SSMI from abroad for this ministry.

Like our co-foundress, Blessed Josaphata, who designed her own distinctive habit and also streamlined the pattern of the priest’s phelon (chasuble) of her own day, Sr. Anne Marie has been adapting current designs and creating new ones, for greater practicality. She has also kept the department technologically current, introducing computerized machines, capable of, for instance, programable embroidery.

One of Sr. Anne Marie’s crowning achievements was the perfecting of the collapsible Bishop’s miter, which can be easily packed in a small carrying case for travel, and reassembled. Since its beginnings, this style of miter has been requested by most of our Ukrainian Catholic bishops, world-wide, as well as bishops of other Eastern Catholic and Orthodox churches from all inhabited continents -- yes, even Africa! She has also provided for various Roman Catholic requests, adapting patterns where necessary.

Her right hand of 24 years, Mrs. Anna Rotko, came on board after her husband’s aunt had been hired to help. Since then, Sisters from Canada, Brazil and several from Ukraine have trained in this ministry. Among these, Srs. Solomia Jankovych, Marta Budaj and Lidia Sydorko had taken on similar departments in their Province of Ukraine, as a result of their training, and Sr. Eliane Ilnitski, of Brazil, had run the Sloatsburg, New York, vesting department, having upgraded her training in Toronto.

For Sr. Anne Marie, and all those who carry on this ministry: - Многая Літа! God grant them many years!

Anna_and_Sr_A bishop_vestments vestery_training

Anna Rotko and Sr. Anne Marie, sewing a priest's vestment.

Full set of bishop's vestments, featuring the collapsible miter.

Sr. Anne Marie, Srs. Marta Budaj and Solomija Jankovych, SSMI, of Ukraine, with Anna Rotko.