FOX CHASE MANOR, Pa. – The Sisters of St. Basil the Great gathered recently to celebrate the lives and labor of two members of the order: Sister Judith Piszyk and Sister Irenea Hankewych.
The festivities on September 25 began with divine liturgy in Holy Trinity Chapel celebrated by Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys Gudziak, along with the sisters’ chaplain, Father John Ciurpita, with Volodymyr Radko serving as deacon.
Afterwards, the sisters gathered in the dining room for a celebratory dinner. Serving as emcee for the event was Sister Ann Laszok. Sister Monica Lesnick opened the festivities with a toast, and Provincial Superior Sister Dorothy Ann Busowski honored the jubilarians with a touching tribute that focused on the life journeys that had brought each of them to Fox Chase, a tribute that began and evolved as a description of a journey upon which each sister had embarked, a life of travel with each successive destination a station of the cross and a challenging new work environment.
“Each whistle-stop, each destination spoke to you in a variety of ways and invitations,” Sister Dorothy Ann noted.
Sister Judith, celebrating 75 years as a member of the order of Sisters of St. Basil the Great, served in parishes in New York, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, as well as Canada, laying a foundation in Basilian and Ukrainian Catholic spirituality whether as teacher and mentor or as someone selflessly engaging in reaching out to and serving the elderly and the immigrant.
Sister Irenea, celebrating 50 years as a member of the order, served in parishes in New York, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois (including a record-breaking 30 years in Chicago) as teacher or principal or superior, always generously sharing her gift for languages and other talents with others and inspiring, supporting and affirming their endeavors.
The provincial superior ended her presentation with a personal note of appreciation: “I say to both of you sisters that so many have been enriched by your presence and we are honored to share this occasion with each of you. We are happy to be in the same track with each of you for we are one in community, one in service, one in love… You are our two Chicago girls, and we love you!”
Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great have served in the United States since 1911. The sisters strive to be a praying, healing, life-giving presence in every community where they minister, especially in the field of education.