Tag Archives: child sponsorship

Kateryna’s Passion for Painting

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Kateryna, from Pochaiv, Ukraine, didn’t have an easy childhood. Her mother, the only caretaker of the family, worked her hardest to take care of Kateryna and her two brothers. She took on multiple jobs, including servicing a local cemetery. She worked nearly every day, even on Sundays selling candles and lamps to cemetery visitors.

It was incredibly hard for Kateryna’s mother to afford housing on her small income, so the family lived in the cemetery’s facility building.The family of four shared one tiny room cluttered with landscaping tools, buckets, and shovels. The room had no running water or bathroom facilities.  The children, often left alone to entertain themselves, would play between the cemetery graves.

Kateryna and her family’s lives changed the moment she was chosen by her Chalice sponsor. Her mom was able to provide proper nutrition and care to her three children, and no longer had to work so many odd jobs to make ends meet. The stability she found was a great relief on the whole family- she got to spend more time with her children, and could encourage them to thrive.

Kateryna, now able to focus on her passions, discovered a love for art. She started painting at school, and both her mom and teachers noticed she had a talent for it. She practiced painting still life objects around her, and became especially gifted at portrait painting.

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Today, Kateryna is 17 and attends a special art school. Kateryna’s expert use of soft, natural colours and eye for detail has gained her recognition as a gifted artist in her community.  She recently debuted her artwork at her first personal exhibition!

Kateryna is still living with her mom and brothers. Her mother, after carefully budgeting sponsorship funds, moved the family to a safe and clean two bedroom apartment. Her older brother is studying at a local college, and the whole family is incredibly grateful for the blessings in their lives.

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A child in Cochabamba, Bolivia is delighted by her new gift. Photo by Janelle  Witzaney

Gifts of Love and Thanks

Advent is an exciting time at Chalice because we see an outpouring of love in many different forms. This deluge of the heart is no accident, it is prompted by the anticipation of the Lord’s arrival. It is from our natural inclination of wanting to be close to Christ that we desire to share the gift of love with others. The beauty of expressing love is in our creation. The Lord has made each and every one of us an individual who shows our love in very different ways.

In his book Life is Worth Living, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen says, “Nothing ever happens in this world that does not happen first inside human hearts.”  Naturally we look to prayer when we want to make something happen inside the human heart. Through prayer we are making a connection with the Lord which, in turn, connects us to all of His children. Prayers open hearts and can create tangible expressions of love.

When Chalice supporter’s hearts are moved to give, our hearts are also stirred. Deacon Danny MacDonald, our School and Parish Administrator says even a task as simple as opening the mail during Advent is deeply inspiring because we see the generosity of people.  Deacon Danny also said the love and generosity does not stop at our individual supporters. One parish wanted to encourage others to give donations for mosquito netting from our Chalice Gift Catalogue. In order to show their solidarity with our work, the parish covered their nativity scene in mosquito netting!

When the Three Wise Men visited Jesus after his birth, they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. There is a major significance attached to these gifts because the Wise Men were not only acknowledging the importance of the birth of Jesus, but they were also giving gifts of love and thanks for the Son of God’s arrival. Living in Canada has afforded us the opportunity to be able to give gifts that express our gratitude for all of God’s blessings. When we share our blessings with others, we give gifts from the heart, letting the recipient know they are one of God’s children and they are loved. Chances are the recipient of that gift will experience a movement inside their heart that will allow them to pass the love on in a meaningful way.

The month of December, admittedly, is a very busy time of year, but it is also a time where our hearts are open and we are ready to celebrate Christmas. So go fourth and spread your gifts from the heart with others. Whether in the form of a kind greeting, lending an ear to listen or buying a gift – spread joy this Christmas and create tangible expressions of love.

By Heidi Hlubina – Parish Coordinator

Cover photo by Janelle Witzaney – Solidarity Tour Volunteer