St. Michael the Archangel Hospice Zaporozhye -Ukraine
The mission of Chalice of Mercy has continually strived to meet both the spiritual and physical needs of the poor people of Ukraine. Recently, the director of St. Michael the Archangel Hospice Center in Zaporozhye, Vladimir Alexeevich, expressed to the local Auxiliary Bishop, Jan Sobilo, the great need for the hospice. He explained that the local government was threatening to close it. After Bishop Jan explained this to us, our hearts began to burn with a desire to help the needy at this location and to bring relief to the suffering.
The History of the Hospice:
In 2002, the mayor of Zaporozhye, Alexander Polyak, began this hospice to provide a place for the poorest of the poor. In a special way it reached out to cancer patients with stage four cancer who had no one to help them. He established the hospice on the same property as the local Hospital Number 10. After the mayor died, the local government lost interest in the hospice and it didn’t receive any government assistance, functioning only on the small pension of the patients. The building which houses the hospice was built in 1953, with few repairs and updates since then.
The hospice was in dire need of repair. Its antiquated electrical system was a threat to both the patients and the staff and needed immediate replacement. Radiators also required repair because they did not heat the rooms properly. The wood framed windows were in such poor condition that they didn’t keep out the cold weather. The furniture is still in poor condition, with new beds, patient tables, and chairs needed. The linoleum floors are in extremely poor condition and many areas are badly cracked or bare. There is only one bathroom, with one toilet, tub and sink for 32 patients and staff. The toilets and bathroom plumbing were in such poor condition that they were not safe. There were no handicap accessible features for the bathrooms such as railings, raised seats or emergency assistance pulls. Nurses had to physically lift patients into the bathroom and help them to use the toilet.
Bringing New Life to the Hospice:
But with the incredible support of so many friends of Chalice of Mercy – especially Msgr. Roger Scheckel, Director of the Mission Office for the Diocese of La Crosse, and the incredibly wonderful people who joined him on a mission trip to Ukraine in 2011 – we were able to address all of the most vital needs at the Hospice:
Walls were refinished and new flooring installed in patient rooms
New windows were installed
The kitchen was gutted and remodeled
Emergency handicap exits and doors were built
The work on the bathroom also has been done
One of our biggest concerns was the outdated or non-existent medical equipment. Much of the medical equipment was in need of replacement. The wheelchairs that the hospice had were broken and didn’t have proper wheels or footrests. Patients who were immobile didn’t have sufficient diapers or bed toilets. Mattresses were in need of replacement because they were several years old and smelled of urine. There was a tremendous need for equipment to help bedridden people, to make it easier for patients and the hospice staff. The employees were forced to work in these conditions. They did the best they could and made every effort to keep everything clean and as pleasant as possible.
But the good news is that on March 6th 2014 Chalice of Mercy was able to deliver to the Hospice long-awaited medical equipment and supplies to address these needs and improve life for the patients. This included beds, mattresses, wheelchairs, crutches, patient lifters, pillows, blankets, bed toilets, dippers and much more.
Because Ukraine previously suffered under communism, many medical facilities have historically prohibited the practice of religion. The director of the St. Michael the Archangel Hospice, however, has given us permission to extend the loving hand of Christ to their residents. Thus we will be able to pray with the residents, comfort them in their suffering, bring Holy Communion, and have priests administer sacraments if necessary. A wonderful team of volunteers from the local parish of God the Merciful Father is now taking on this great task of serving these spiritual needs.
Chalice of Mercy will continue to support St. Michael the Archangel Hospice in as many ways as possible with the goal that no one in this world will live and die unwanted.
We are inspired by the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”
First mission trip to Zaporozhzhya – Renovation work at St Michael the Archangel Hospice
On June 5, 2011, 10 missionaries traveled with me from Wisconsin to Ukraine. Our mission was to assist in performing renovations to a very poor hospice in Zaporozhe. The hospice is located in a building which was...Read More »
News from Hospice St. Michael the Archangel, Zaporozhye.
The construction work at the Hospice St. Michael the Archangel is going forward. Now the biggest project of remodeling the hallway is done. The hallway was in such terrible condition. It was quite a project to rebuild the walls, because they were so...Read More »