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The Worst and the Best of Humanity

This new 2023 year started for 17 Wing’s Roman Catholic community of Ste. Marguerite Bourgeoys with a very special event, an event that a year ago no one even suspected could be happening.


Recently arrived from Ukraine families, 1 Jan 2023; 17 Wing Spiritual Well-being Center, Winnipeg, Canada (Photo credit: Ste. Marguerite Bourgeoys community)

On January 1st, our small community welcomed five families that arrived recently from Ukraine due to the ongoing war. The event, which included Sunday Liturgy and a potluck lunch, brought together about 60 people at 17 Wing Spiritual Well-being Center.

The destructive full-scale invasion of Ukraine that started on 24 Feb 2022 had shown the worst side of human nature. Over the last 11 months, millions of people have been displaced from their homes, thousands have been killed, including many children. What has been happening because of Russian Federation’s aggression is hard to comprehend; this level of destruction and the magnitude of cruelty had not been seen in Europe since the end of World War Two.

However, in the middle of all the suffering and chaos, we also see the brighter side of humanity. As millions of the displaced were forced to flee their homes into the unknown with the hope to find some safety, they were welcomed by millions of families that were willing to share their homes and all they had. This spirit of welcomeness was especially strong in neighboring Poland, which hosted during these challenging times more Ukrainian refugees than any other country. I noticed the enormous hospitality of Polish people firsthand when I was deployed with CAF to Warsaw last spring.


Ukrainian refugee with her dogs. Summer 2022, Warsaw, Poland (Photo credit: A. Sloboda)

This spirit of hospitality and solidarity towards Ukrainians fleeing the war has been also very present in our local communities of Winnipeg. I have the privilege to personally know at least a dozen of our 17 Wing military members who assisted in finding shelter for the Ukrainian refugees and who even opened the doors of their private homes to accommodate them for several months as they were looking for more permanent housing solutions.

In times of peace and in times of war, there are always opportunities to do good and to bring positive change to people around us. Let us be grateful for all the blessings we have in our lives and let us remember that our actions and our decisions also form the face of humanity and the faith in humanity.


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