Latest News


Jubilee is a time to “return to Galilee,” to the time when one first heard the call and to treasure in one’s heart the living memory of that call. It is for the Jubilarians, and for all the Sisters, “a return to that blazing light with which God’s grace touched us at the start of our journey.” These words of Pope Francis express this even more succinctly when he stated, “To return there means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me.” These are the memories which sustain us on the journey and which we celebrate at each Jubilee.

Nine Sisters of St. Basil celebrated a lifetime of dedication during the annual community day gathering at Mount St. Macrina. From Diamond Jubilarian Sister Maria Petruska, to 40 year Jubilarian Sister Susan Sisko, the Sisters have offered a total of 565 years of loving service throughout our Metropolitan Church. As the Feast of our holy Mother St. Macrina fell during community week, July 19th was the day chosen to honor all these Sisters. The gospel during the Divine Liturgy of Thanksgiving was about the Beatitudes. Father Michael, Monastery Chaplain, noted that this gospel asks the most of us. In addressing the Jubilarians, Father spoke of the depth of their love for the Lord, this love exemplified in their fidelity to the holy vows over the years. No less are they honored for their faithful fulfillment of the various apostolates to which they were called and assigned.

Earlier in the week, the Sisters gathered at the Manor to honor Sister Maria Petruska, Sister Rita Keshock, Sister Paula Dzurisin and Sister Mary Grace, the Jubilarians who now reside there. The joyful gathering began with the singing of odes of the Akathist to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. A wonderful time of socializing followed the congratulations offered by Sister Ruth, Provincial, on behalf of all the Sisters.

Briefly, each one’s ministry is included in the following notes.

75th Anniversary

Sister Maria Petruska entered the community from St. Mary’s Parish, Mahanoy City, Pa.

Sr. Maria’s teaching ministry included the elementary, high school and college levels both within the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Province and abroad in Palestine, Guam, Japan and Tanzania. Sr. Maria’s empathy for those entering the United States lacking a proficiency in English led her to tutor for the Intermediate Unit I Adult Learning Center in Uniontown. Several of her students still keep in friendly contact with her. Sister now resides at Mt. Macrina Manor.

70th Anniversary

Sister Rita Keshock entered the community from St. Nicholas parish, Youngstown, Ohio. She spent many years as a teacher and principal before devoting her talents to fine arts and crafts at the monastery. Sr. Rita’s specialty is etching icons on eggs, and she has given many workshops teaching the above technique. Sr. Rita was an active member of the Uniontown Art Club and the Uniontown Flower Club, and she took great joy in sharing her talents and knowledge among the membership. Presently, Sr. Rita resides at Mt. Macrina Manor.

Sister Paula Dzurisin came to the monastery from St. Michael’s in Pittston, Pa. She also spent a good number of years as a teacher and principal in the parish schools as well as at Mount Macrina Academy. During the Alumnae reunions, her students make a point of visiting her.  Following her years in the teaching ministry, Sr. Paula spent a year in pastoral visiting at the Manor.  Her background in business education led to her next assignment, that of managing the Card Department at the monastery. When health issues required a lessening of her responsibilities, Sr. Paula continued to assist in that same ministry for a number of years. Sr. Paula now resides at Mt. Macrina Manor.

Sister Bernarda Sevachko entered the community from St. Nicholas parish in Youngstown, Ohio. Sr. Bernarda’s first 45 years of service were devoted to the teaching apostolate. For the next 25 years, with unflagging energy, she has been active in pastoral and catechetical ministry for the five Byzantine Catholic parishes in the Youngstown area. Her ministry is marked by the enthusiasm which she brings to all she does. At present, there is no indication that Sister Bernarda is thinking of retiring.

60th Anniversary

Sister Regina Adams came to the community from St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic parish, Trenton, N.J. Sister had been both teacher and principal in many of the schools staffed by the Sisters in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio. After leaving the teaching apostolate, Sr. served in parish ministry in her home parish of Trenton, N.J. for five years. She is currently serving in parish ministry for the Wilkes-Barre, Kingston and Swoyersville parishes, as well as cantoring at St. Mary’s Parish, Wilkes-Barre.

Sister Melita Marie Penchalk entered the community from St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic parish, Barberton, O. Sister served mainly in the teaching apostolate on both the elementary and secondary levels in the schools in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey and New York, Sr. Melita also served in administration as a Provincial Councilor. After this, for the next 12 years, she was an Assistant Superintendent of Catholic Schools in Phoenix, Ariz.  Presently, Sr. Melita serves as community archivist and helps part-time in the Gift Shop.

Sister Mary Grace Skuban entered the community from St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Taylor, PA. Sister was an LPN on the staff of Mt. Macrina Manor, serving both in direct nursing care and in medical records. Other ministries were at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary, at Mt. Macrina House of Prayer, and as Activities Director at St. Basil’s Home. Upon returning to the monastery, she served as monastery sacristan as well as assisting with the health care of the Sisters at the Monastery. Sr. Mary Grace now resides at Mt. Macrina Manor.

Sister Seraphim Olsafsky served two terms as Provincial of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Province in Uniontown. She entered the community from St. Edward’s Roman Catholic Church in Youngstown, Ohio. Sr. Seraphim was active in a variety of ministries, beginning her apostolic work as a teacher and/or principal in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Sr. Seraphim also served as Directresss of Novices, as Assistant Provincal, Personal Formation Directress, Social worker, Curator of the Archieparchial Museum and Director of the Byzantine Seminary Press. Presently, she is Director of Mount Macrina Cemetery and Mausoleum.

40th Anniversary

Sister Susan Sisko came to the community from St. John the Baptist Church in Bridgeport, Conn.

As with most of the community, Sister was active in the education ministry at both the elementary and secondary levels, sometimes concurrently as principal. In addition to being on the Provincial Council for two terms, she also served as Coordinator of the Monastery community during this time. Vocation, Formation and Young Adult Ministry were also assignments carried out by Sr. Susan. Presently, Sr. Susan is a resident director at Notre Dame University in Indiana.

Each of the Sisters has brought a diversity of gifts and talents to the Province, and each has enriched it in her own unique way.  May God grant each of them many more spiritually fruitful years in His service.

Celebrating with Jubilarians are Sr. Maria (75 years), Sr. Rita (70 years), Sr. Mary Grace (60 years), and Sr. Paula (70 years).

Celebrating with Jubilarians are Sr. Maria (75 years), Sr. Rita (70 years), Sr. Mary Grace (60 years), and Sr. Paula (70 years).

!st Row: Sr. Susan, Sr. Seraphim, Sr. Melita Marie, Sr. Regina and Sr. Bernarda. 2nd Row: Father Michael Huszti and Sr. Ruth, Provincial.

!st Row: Sr. Susan, Sr. Seraphim, Sr. Melita Marie, Sr. Regina and Sr. Bernarda. 2nd Row: Father Michael Huszti and Sr. Ruth, Provincial.

Jubilarians enjoy a celebratory meal with Sr. Ruth and Father Michael.

Jubilarians enjoy a celebratory meal with Sr. Ruth and Father Michael.

Young Adult Retreat

Fifteen young adults from all over Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia participated in the 3rd annual Young Adult Weekend Retreat at Mount St. Macrina House of Prayer June 23-25.   A team of them worked with Sister Barbara Jean to give presentations and lead activities based on the book Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly.

Obituary: Sr. Leona Trudich, OSBM

Sr. Leona

 “Let the faithful rejoice in glory, shout for joy and take their rest.” These words sung at the Divine Liturgy were in our hearts on the morning of Sister Leona’s falling asleep in the Lord on June 20. After 81 years of faithful service to the Lord, she surely deserved both the glory and the rest, and while we could not picture her “shouting,” we could certainly share in her joy.

Sister Leona was born in the village of Hrabske in what was then Czechoslovakia, the daughter of the late John and Mary (Hrabar) Trudich.  She entered the Sisters of St. Basil the Great from St. John the Baptist Church in Lansford, Pa., on June 23, 1936, at the tender age of 16, and she made her Solemn Profession of Vows on Nov. 30, 1944.

Sister Leona served from Chicago to the East coast in the ministry of education as principal, teacher and catechist.  During her long academic career, fortified by both a B.S. and M.S. in Education, she taught in 18 schools. When teaching was no longer an option, Sister Leona served in parish ministry in the Hazleton area before retiring to the monastery in 2005. There she look forward to participating daily in the prayer and activities of the Sisters. One could always depend on meeting Sister in the halls with her rosary beads in her hand.

Sister Leona carried this same spirit of prayerfulness with her when she became a resident at Mt. Macrina Manor in 2013. Like her good friend, Sister Leonora who preceded her in death by several weeks, Sister Leona always greeted those who visited her with a smile. At the age of 82, together with Sister Leonora, she took up learning to play the violin, and both Sisters were featured in the local newspaper lauding their taking this step in their mature years.

Sister Leona wanted to be remembered for her love of teaching, her love for her parents and family and for her spirit of trust, love and gratitude to the Sisters. To this she added forgiveness and “many thanks to everyone.” Those who knew her, or who worked with her, would add the qualities of kindness and thoughtfulness of others.

Sister Leona was the last surviving member of her immediate family, having been preceded in death by her parents and her sisters Mary Bujnak, Anna Oross and Julia Dotsey. In addition to her community, she is survived by several nieces and nephews and their families.

Relatives and friends will be received at the Monastery Chapel on Thurs., June 22 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 Fri., June 23 at 10:30 am in the Monastery Chapel by Archbishop William C. Skurla.

Interment will follow in the Dormition Section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.

Obituary: Sr. Leonora Kondrach, OSBM

As peacefully and quietly as she lived, so was Sister Leonora’s departure from this life into the embrace of the Lord in the evening of the first of June. Her gentle spirit, her quiet ways and her sweet smile are how one will always remember her.

The daughter of the late Michael and Margaret (Havrilla) Kondrach, Sister Leonora (Irene) was born in Hazleton, Pa. She entered the Sisters of St. Basil the Great from St. Mary’s Church in Freeland, Pa., on July 4, 1946, and made her Final Profession of Vows on August 28, 1953.

Sister Leonora dedicated over fifty years of her religious life to the ministry of teaching on the primary level, and her love of teaching is one of the ways she wanted to be remembered. In addition to being a teacher, Sister also served as principal. This much-loved ministry was interrupted by a span of five years, when Sister Leonora went on to serve in parish ministry. Teaching, however, was still in her heart, and she readily went on to serve as a teacher’s aide at St. Mary’s in Cleveland.

One would think that after a half-century, Sister would be ready to sit back and relax, but this was not so. On returning to the Monastery in Uniontown, Sister Leonora volunteered to help Sister Petronilla in pastoral ministry at the Manor.  Here, her cheerful countenance, her pleasing personality, and her encouraging words were welcomed by the many residents she visited or with whom she prayed. Even when she herself became a resident, she continued to visit and spread cheer until serious illness prevented her from doing so. Another way for which she wanted to be remembered was a spirit of trust and compassion, and this Sister surely expressed not only at the Manor but during her many years as a teacher.

Sister Leonora also had a love for music, and one of her favorite ways of relaxing was to play the piano. On any given day, she could be found or heard indulging in this recreation. In her later years, she also took up learning to play the violin, and her teacher in the Hazleton area has fond memories of the enjoyment both Sister Leonora and Sister Leona took in this activity.

Sister Leonora was preceded in death by her parents and her brother John. In addition to her members in community, she is survived by her sister Dolores (John) Kanuck, her sister-in-law Susan Kondrach, a nephew and several nieces.

Relatives and friends will be received at the Monastery Chapel on Monday, June 5 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 on Tuesday, June 6 at 10:30 am in the Monastery Chapel by Very Reverend Andrew J. Deskevich.

Interment will follow in the Dormition Section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.



Mt. St. Macrina Cemetery Undergoes Face-Lift

Mt. St. Macrina Cemetery is undergoing a needed face-lift.  The Raimondo Company, a masonry restoration contractor, has been engaged to carry out restoration in three areas of the Cemetery:  the entrance pillars; the limestone Altar and surrounding areas including the Bishops’ headstones, balustrades; and the Versalock road leading to the main altar area.

Crews have been on site for over a week systematically applying chemical detergent and a water pressure system on all masonry surfaces, pillars, and altars.  They sandblasted the Versalock road/pathways and applied protective spray coat of silicon liquid.  They proceeded to spot point open holes and structural cracks in all existing masonry.  They repointed, bonded, mortared, patched, installed rods, inserted wire mesh, built, cured and anchored.

The pillars’ structural fissures were addressed and the existing deteriorating mosaic tiles were replaced with a limestone backing which was then painted with a decorative vine design.

Last Pilgrimage Mr. & Mrs. John Forney mentioned their willingness to contribute toward the restoration of the main altar and Bishops’ headstone in the Cemetery.  Once this project began, they graciously followed through and made a very generous contribution to help finance this project.   We Sisters are very appreciative of their generosity, and to all those who have contributed toward the upgrade of this sacred resting place.  May God grant to Mr.  & Mrs.  John Forney and Family many Blessed and Happy Years!

We Sisters believe that our cemetery is a sacred place where the memory of all our loved one is to be honored with dignity.  We will continue to do all we can to make it a tranquil place of beauty, and a place that calls us to dwell on those things that will live forever.

…Sister Seraphim, Director

IMG_4805 IMG_4807IMG_4810IMG_4813

Pilgrimage Preparations begin at Mount St. Macrina Helping Hands Day Slated for Sat., June 3

11390278_10153353223304731_3789434984986539141_nHelping Hands Day, which is sponsored by the Greek Catholic Union of the U.S.A., will take place at Mount St. Macrina this year on Sat., June 3.

The annual observance combines the strengths of participants to produce meaningful results for the preparation of the 83rd Annual Pilgrimage which will be held over Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2 & 3.

On this day, at Mount Saint Macrina, the faithful of the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh,  the GCU (a fraternal benefit society serving Byzantine Catholics since 1892), and the many friends of the Sisters of Saint Basil join together for a common cause—to prepare the grounds for the Annual

Pilgrimage. Volunteers will clear floral gardens, shrines, urns and other plantingareas throughout the grounds, and then plant annuals. Other work centers will be the pavilions, which will be cleared of a winter’s worth of leaves and other debris.

The GCU is pleased to partner with the Sisters of St. Basil the Great and interested youth and adults for Helping Hands Day.  If you are able to participate, here are a few notes:

  • The group will meet in the Trinity Center for coffee and donuts at 9:30 a.m.
  • A brief prayer service will follow, and work will begin at 10:00 a.m.
  • Bring lawn tools (including brooms, rakes, weed whackers, etc.) for outside work. Bring brooms, mops, dust pans, etc., for any indoor cleaning.
  • Lunch will be served.

To register or for additional information, please call Sr. Joanne at 724-439-4940 or GCU at 1-800-722-4428.