Very peacefully, as she had always wanted, +Sister Gertrude (Irene) Martin moved from the earthly realm to the heavenly in the early evening of Wed., Nov. 28, 2018. There, she was surely welcomed by the Lord she served with fidelity and enthusiasm for 75 years.
Sr. Gertrude was born in Homestead, Pa., the daughter of the late Nicholas and Ann (Kopas) Martin, the middle child of thirteen siblings. She entered the community from St. John the Baptist Cathedral Parish in Homestead on October 3, 1943. Sr. Gertrude made her Final Profession of Vows on August 19, 1951 in the presence of the late Rev. John Kocisko.
Her teaching apostolate spanned 33 years, 12 of which she also served as principal. Still in the teaching apostolate, she additionally served as a member of the Provincial Council for five years. For another six years, Sr. Gertrude ably administered St. Basil’s Home for Women. A brief return to teaching took her to Trenton, N.J. before she returned to the monastery, Sister’s energetic nature and varied talents then led her to be assigned as the manager of the Religious Gift Shop. At the Gift Shop, she was a familiar face for over ten years, tending to all aspects of this special ministry of the Sisters. It was a ministry from which it was hard for her to take leave, since she especially enjoyed being there.
In 2005, Sister retired from active ministry, but she busied herself at the monastery with various projects, since she was not one to sit still and watch the world go by. At the monastery, she will be especially remembered for directing the Christmas decorating throughout the house. Even now, as soon as that season rolls around, her name is invariably mentioned.
Each year, the National Religious Retirement Office publishes a poster to become the basis of their campaign materials. They select Priests and Sisters whose faces are a reminder of the more than 35,000 religious past the age of 70 years living in the United States. For the 2009 poster, Sr. Gertrude was one of our three Sisters to be chosen. One could not help but be attracted by those deep set blue eyes and infectious smile, the face of a happy Sister.
Sr. Gertrude was preceded in death by her parents, and 11 of her siblings; her brothers Nicholas, John, Edward, Raymond, Donald, Elmer and Clifford; and her sisters
Ann Kasko, Pauline Pushcar, Mary Baka, and Eleanor Stellute. In addition to her Sisters in community, she is survived by her brother George Martin, her sister Verna Savko, and many devoted nieces and nephews and their families.
Relatives and friends will be received at the Monastery Chapel on Monday, December 3 from 3:30 pm to the time of the Parastas Service which will be sung at 7:00 pm. The Funeral Divine Liturgy will be celebrated by Archbishop William C. Skurla on Tuesday, December 4, at 10:30 am. Interment will follow in the Dormition Section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.
Donald R. Crawford Funeral Home. Hopwood, is in charge of arrangements.
GLORY TO JESUS CHRIST! Pilgrimage 2018
Every Pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help seems to take on a special memory of its own. This 84th pilgrimage was no exception. In the midst of all the turmoil that has continued to bombard us on all sides, there was a palpable atmosphere of peace which seemed to pervade the entire Mount. Yes, hearts were heavy with news of political chaos, church struggles, violence in our cities and towns, and sufferings and death brought on by all sort of addictions. Yet, the pilgrims who came seemed to bask in the love of Mary, Hope of All Generations.
We, the Sisters, continue to share the stories of our dear pilgrims, admiring their courage, determination and loving support. We are truly humbled by their continued faith. So many made the sacrifices of time and treasure to come from distant places with the expectation of being spiritually nourished. Others came from nearby with children and grandchildren hoping to share this time and tradition with new generations.
All who came played a significant part in making this pilgrimage a memorable and spiritual uplifting event. From the youngest baby pilgrim to the oldest, the children who make the Children’s Procession such a touching sight, the numerous pilgrims patiently standing in line to receive the Mystery of Reconciliation, our teenagers and young adults; all made the pilgrimage a mosaic of all generations. We Sisters are truly grateful for such vibrant expressions of faith.
Prayer is the greatest gift that we can offer, and you can be assured that our prayers will accompany you every day. May Our Lady of Perpetual Help watch over you, keep you in her loving care, lead you back to this holy Mount for pilgrimage 2019.
With our love, prayers, and sincere gratitude,
Sister Ruth and the Sisters of St. Basil
For those who did not receive the 84th Annual Pilgrimage invitation in the mail, you may download it here >>
Amidst the flurry of activities and the full schedule planned for the annual Community Days at Mount St. Macrina, there is always time to celebrate. This summer four Sisters joyfully marked significant milestones in their lives as Sisters of St. Basil. As the second oldest member of the community, Sr. Gertrude Martin celebrated the Diamond Anniversary of her religious life.
Since Sr. Gertrude resides at the Manor, the Sisters joined her in a celebration on the Monday afternoon of Community Days. After singing two odes of the Akathist to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a social was held in the Manor’s Oaks Dining Room where Sr. Gertrude received the congratulations, gifts and well-wishes of the Sisters.
Tuesday afternoon found the Sisters gathered in the Chapel for a Divine Liturgy of Thanksgiving offered by the Monastery Chaplain Rev. Peter Leigh for all the Jubilarians. Besides Sr. Gertrude, Sr. Christopher Malcovsky observed her 70th Anniversary, and Sr. Monica Husovich and Sr. Agnes Herbenick observed their 60th Anniversary. From the beginning processional to the final singing of “God grant you many years” the Divine Liturgy was an inspiration as all raised their voices in thanksgiving for the gift of each Sister Jubilarians’ vocation.
Brief biographies of the Jubilarians follow.
Sister Gertrude (Irene) Martin, OSBM 75th Anniversary
Sr. Gertrude entered the Community from St. John the Cathedral Parish, Munhall, Pa. She spent 33 years molding young minds and morals as a teacher mostly in the primary grades in parish schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Indiana. Her education apostolate included 12 years as principal. Sister holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Misericordia College, Dallas, Pa.
From 1975 through 1980, while continuing to teach, Sister was a member of the Provincial Council. During the latter half of this term, she moved from teaching to serve as assistant house director at the monastery. Sr. Gertrude was then assigned as administrator of St. Basil’s Home from 1980 through 1986. A brief return to teaching took her to St. Mary Assumption Church, Trenton, N.J., where she spent three years. Sr. Gertrude was a familiar face as the manager of the Religious Gift Shop at Mount St. Macrina for a good number of years. Presently, she resides at Mount Macrina Manor.
Sister Christopher Malcovsky entered the community from St. Mary’s, Nesquehoning, Pa.
Her beginning years were spent as a teacher and principal. She then served as Motherhouse Superior and then she was elected as Provincial Superior for two terms. After a sabbatical year, Sr. Christopher served in various capacities, assisting with the organizational work in Eparchy of Van Nuys, and helping at Mt. Macrina Manor and the House of Prayer. In 1983, Sister was elected as General Superior, serving in Rome for six years.
From 1991 until 2008, Sister Christopher served in the Eparchy of Van Nuys as Pastoral Associate, first at the Cathedral of St. Mary’s in Van Nuys, Calif., and then at St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral, Phoenix, Arizona. Additionally, she also managed the apartment complex at St. Stephen’s. Presently, Sr. Christopher resides at the Monastery; she assists part-time in the Religious Gift Shop and, otherwise, generously offers her services wherever needed.
Sister Monica Husovich entered the Sisters of St. Basil from St. Mary’s in Freeland, Pa. She served as both teacher and principal in parish school principally in Pennsylvania, but also in Indiana and Ohio. Sr. Monica also taught at Byzantine Catholic High School in Parma, Ohio. While teaching in northeastern Pennsylvania, she served as a member of the Catechetical Board for the Eparchy of Passaic. Sr. Monica then served on the staff of Mt. Macrina Manor, first in the business office, and later as Admissions and Resident Coordinator. Following her retirement from the Manor, Sr. Monica kept busy taking the Monastery Sisters for their appointments as needed; she also faithfully takes care of posting the prayer requests sent to the community.
Sister Agnes Herbenick came to the community from St. John’s in Lyndora, Pa. Her principal ministry has been in the educational field, serving as a teacher in parish schools in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey and Ohio. For 25 years, she guided eighth graders at St. Mary’s School in Cleveland, Ohio. Among Sr. Agnes’ other assignments were in catechetical ministry in Binghamton, N.Y.; postulant directress for the community, and a member of the Mt. Macrina Manor Board of Directors. After retiring from the teaching ministry, Sr. Agnes returned to the Monastery, where today, she serves as sacristan. In addition, she works part-time in pastoral ministry at Mt. Macrina Manor.
As one can see from reading just these capsule pieces of information, each of the Jubilarians has actively served the Church in a variety of ways, each Sister giving witness to the priority God has in her life. Not able to be enumerated or even noted are, surely, the countless lives which have been touched by personal contact with these Sister Jubilarians. For all of these Sisters, and for the giftedness with which the community has been enriched and blessed, it was with heartfelt gratitude, that “God grant them many years” was sung as we joined together for a celebratory meal following the Divine Liturgy.
In a month we will celebrate our 84th Pilgrimage.
Although we had a group of wonderful volunteers in June, we once again, need extra hands to help “groom” the grounds.
Though we have a Pilgrimage Prep Day Aug. 18, we need help prior to the date with washing windows, weeding, weed whacking and tree and bush trimming. All the rain we had this summer made it difficult for our maintenance crew to keep up with the outside work. Anyone willing to lend a hand for a couple of hours please contact Sister Carol at 724-438-7149.
When my great-nephew was 5½ years old, I praised him for being exceptionally well behaved at his grandmother’s wake at the funeral home. I told him how good he was, and how proud we were of him. His response was, “You know, I get way too much appreciation.”
In these days when it seems that negativity and competition are sometimes too evident, I wonder if there is such a positive as “too much appreciation.” I can’t image that we can ever be too grateful for the goodness in our lives, that which comes from God above and that which we extend to each other. Since the summer is flying by so quickly and Pilgrimage will soon be here, I have to reflect on how thankful we Sisters are for this most blessed extraordinary event in the life of our Church and in the life of anyone who ever came as a pilgrim for the past 83 years.
It cannot be said that the Pilgrimage began as an accident, but it certainly seems that it was not specifically planned for. On September 3, 1934, Labor Day, about 3000 faithful came by trains, chartered buses and cars for the blessing of the newly acquired home of the Sisters at Mt. St. Macrina. Many had gathered at St. John church on the other side of town, and they came in procession through the city of Uniontown carrying banners. Forty-two priests joined Bishop Basil Takach in the Divine Liturgy preceding the blessing.
Probably heartened by this response of the clergy and faithful, Bishop Basil with the permission of the Holy See and the enthusiastic support of the Sisters, decided to hold an annual Pilgrimages at Mt. St. Macrina. This would also provide an opportunity for spreading devotion to the Mother of God under her title as Our Lady of Perpetual Help, as Holy Father Pius XI requested of the Sisters.
Now, 84 years later, we prepare to gather again for this Pilgrimage weekend which has held special significance for so many, and which has maintained a strong impact on the Byzantine Catholic Church in America. How could we not be grateful without limit for this blessing as we thank our Lord and His Mother for this gift to us? We thank them for all who came during these many years: the earliest pilgrims who were comforted as they remembered the Pilgrimages they left behind at home in Eastern Europe and who were here able to be reunited with friends and relatives who now lived in different parts of America; the many who came year after year, during times good and bad, making it a part of their lives; and to all who now travel here.
We sincerely appreciate our hierarchs, priests, deacons and seminarians for leading us in the incomparably beautiful prayer of our Church. Their presence enables us to grow in the “where two or three who are gathered in my name,” and to participate in the fullness of the Life of the Church.
We are ever thankful for the countless volunteers and helpers who make it possible for the Pilgrimage to continue in all of the practical ways that we see. We could not be more grateful for that which we cannot see: the prayers that are offered here, and for the blessings, both those which are received and those which will be brought by each one who attends the 84th Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at Mt. St. Macrina. Please come to receive the blessings that wait, to share the blessing that you bring, and to join us as we attempt to express “way too much appreciation.”
The planning for this year’s Pilgrimage started not long after the 83rd Annual Pilgrimage. The Sisters and volunteers did the first preparations of the grounds on June 2. The next preparation day is Sat., Aug. 18. Anyone who is interested in volunteering can contact Sr. Joanne Lickvar at 724.438.8644.
“For 84 years, the Pilgrimage has brought together generations of young and old to pray, sing and share in the many blessings of this holy time. Come, bring your joys, sorrows, concerns, and fears to her, and find peace and comfort in her loving care,” said Sr. Ruth Plante, OSBM, Provincial.
Those who plan on attending the Pilgrimage can chose from a variety of accommodations, including camping on the racetrack, Pilgrim houses (first-come, first-served), hotels, motels or bed and breakfasts.
Further information is available regarding camping and a complete list of accommodations can be found under the “Events” section of this website.
A light menu will be available at the lunch stand beginning on Friday evening.
In addition to the scheduled services, programs and events to be held on Saturday and Sunday, Liturgical prayers will be held at the Shrine Altar on Friday evening and Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Monday morning, September 3.
This year’s guest homilist at the 4:00 p.m. Sunday Divine Liturgy will be the Most Rev. Edward C. Malesic, J.C.L. Pope Francis appointed Bishop Malesic to be the fifth Bishop of Greensburg, Pa., on April 24, 2015.
As Bishop of Greensburg, he is a member of the Board of Governors of the PCC. He also serves on the Boards of St. Vincent Seminary and St. Vincent College, Latrobe, Pa., Seton Hill University, Greensburg, Pa. and on the executive committee of Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania.
Other plans for the weekend include many opportunities for participation in the Divine Liturgy of the Byzantine Catholic Church. Also scheduled are Matins, Vespers, sacrament of reconciliation, activities for teens and children, and other services in honor of the Mother of God.
The Pilgrimage holds the distinction of being the oldest and the largest Byzantine Catholic Pilgrimage in the country.
In the early days of the community, Sister Paula would awake from sleep to prepare for morning prayer in the Monastery. On the morning of April 28, she awoke instead to a new life, a life where she was welcomed into the embrace of the Lord she served so faithfully for over 70 years.
Sr. Paula (Anna) Dzurisin was born in Pittston, Pa., the daughter of the late George and Mary (Kizlin) Dzurisin. A member of St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Parish in Pittston, Pa., she entered the Sisters of St. Basil the Great on June 23, 1947. Sr. Paula made her Final Profession of Vows on August 28, 1953 in the presence of the late Bishop Daniel Ivancho.
As with many of those who entered at the time, Sr. Paula spent a good number of years as a teacher and principal in the parish schools of the Metropolitan Province of Pittsburgh. She also taught business courses at Mount Macrina Academy. There for only one year, the impression she made was such that her students were sure to visit her during the Alumnae reunions.
After almost a half century in the teaching ministry, Sr. Paula returned to the Monastery where she spent a year volunteering in pastoral visiting at the Manor. She was a great conversationalist, and her interest in people was mutually enriching in this ministry.
Her background in business education, however, led to her next assignment, that of managing the Card Department at the monastery for the next eight years. When it was necessary to lessen her responsibilities, Sr. Paula continued to assist in that same ministry for another eight years, graciously handing over the management to another Sister. It was only after this full life in active ministry that Sr. Paula was admitted to the Manor due to declining health.
In her vocation story, Sister wrote that her response to God’s call came only after she repeatedly would say, “No, this isn’t for me, but the call continued to haunt me.” Having finally said “Yes” to her call, she wrote, “The lived experience of my call became like a precious container filled with love that increased the desire within me to share this love with others. This wonderful gift, my Vocation, has been, is, and will continue to be an exciting challenge for me to live my life to the fullest.”
Sr. Paula was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Rev. Monsignor George, Joseph, Michael, and John and her sisters, Sister M. Philip and Mary Wascavage. In addition to her Sisters in community, she is survived by her brother Paul (Dorothy) and many devoted nephews and nieces.
Relatives and friends will be received at the Monastery Chapel on Wed., May 2 from 3:30 p.m. to the time of the Parastas Service which will be sung at 7:00 p.m. The Funeral Divine Liturgy will be celebrated by Archbishop William C. Skurla on Thurs., May 3 at 10:30 a.m. in the Monastery Chapel. Interment will follow in the Dormition Section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.
Having fallen asleep in the Lord late in the evening of April 11, 2018, +Sister Maria Petruska (formerly Sister Juvenalia) woke to a new dawn in the heavenly kingdom. In the last years of her life, Sister was a resident at Mt. Macrina Manor, and it was from here that she took her final steps into eternity.
The daughter of the late Andrew and Mary (Ciparik) Petruska, Sister Maria, was born in the village of Ruska Nova Ves in what is now Slovakia. She entered the community from St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Mahanoy City, PA on January 15, 1942 and made her Final Profession of Vows on January 8, 1950.
Her active life in ministry was comprised of teaching from the elementary to secondary levels within the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Province. At the college level, she taught at the Fayette Campus of Penn State. Her teaching ministry on the college level then led her to seek broader experiences, taking her to Bethlehem University, to Guam, Japan and Tanzania. Her experiences of teaching in foreign countries were among her fondest memories.
Retiring from this active ministry, Sister Maria then became involved as a tutor at the Intermediate Unit I Adult Learning Center in Uniontown. Because of her teaching experience in foreign countries, Sister Maria stated that the choice to tutor for the learning center came naturally. As a native of Slovakia, she had an empathy for those lacking proficiency in English. For her, teaching English as a second language was a joy, not a job. Some of the friends she made through this work kept in contact with her over the years.
Sister Maria was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters, Helen and Margaret Petruska, and her brothers, Rev. Gregory Petruska and Andrew Petruska. In addition to her members in community, she is survived by her brother, Rev. Christopher Petruska and her sister Theresa (Bill) Ortmann.
Relatives and friends will be received at the Monastery Chapel on Wednesday, April 18 from 3:30 p.m. to the time of the Parastas Service which will be sung at 7:00 p.m. The Funeral Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Thursday, April 19 at 10:30 am in the Monastery Chapel by Archbishop William C. Skurla. Interment will follow in the Dormition Section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.
Donald R. Crawford Funeral Home, Hopwood, is in charge of arrangements.