News & Reflections

/News & Reflections/

September 2020

A Thank You from Sr. Ruth Plante

By |2020-09-15T16:30:02+00:00September 15th, 2020|Uncategorized|

September 2020


Dear Friends,

Every year, for several weeks before our annual Pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, we petition Our Lord to grant us good weather for the weekend.  Sometimes He responds favorably, and sometimes we face the challenge of rain and storms.  This year, the year of our first virtual Pilgrimage, the weather was absolutely perfect.  Doesn’t Our Lord have quite the sense of humor!!!

Although we were disappointed that we were unable to welcome you in person (every year brings so many happy reunions!!), we were encouraged and touched by the number of pilgrims who joined us in prayer via our YouTube videos.  We had about 5000 people who had watched one or more presentations.  Likewise, we are in the process of lighting over 500 candles to fulfill the prayerful requests that were made.  I believe that our dear Mother of Perpetual Help must have been very pleased by the honor given to her and her divine Son.

We extend our thanks to Archbishop William, to each of our Bishops and clergy, and to each Eparchy for the publicity given through their publications.  Likewise, the Greek Catholic Union continues to support us as they have since our first days and our collaboration in caring for orphans at St. Nicholas Orphanage in Elmhurst, PA. We are also grateful to Sister Marion Dobos, OSB of the Archieparchial Office of Religious Education for the Children and Teen programs.

Finally, we thank each and every one of you for your words of loving support, your continued prayers, and your ongoing financial donations.  It touches our hearts to experience such a caring response.  Please know that we, in turn, will always remember you in our prayers each day.  We bring your intentions to our dear Mother of Perpetual Help and are confident that she will watch over you and keep you under her loving protection as we continue to face the challenges of these days.

                                                            With love, prayers, and gratitude,

                                                            Sister Ruth Plante, OSBM, Provincial

                                                                        and the Sisters of St. Basil

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Join Us for the Virtual Pilgrimage!

By |2020-09-10T17:20:53+00:00September 5th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Here is the link to our YouTube channel >>
The videos will be ready to view at 7:30 AM EST, Saturday, September 5
You may also watch them on our Facebook page.
May you have a blessed VIRTUAL Pilgrimage and a
very safe Labor Day weekend.
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August 2020


By |2020-08-27T17:14:48+00:00August 25th, 2020|Uncategorized|

It is our prayer that you can join us virtually for the 86th Pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help on September 5 and 6.  You can do this by going to our YouTube channel at Basilians – Uniontown PA to view some services and programs that we have recorded for you. This channel will not be available until September 5. The direct link will be put on Facebook and at

Due to the current COVID-19 conditions and in an effort to responsibly care for the safety of everyone, please note that we will not be permitting groups of any size to gather on the grounds of Mount St. Macrina over the Labor Day weekend.  Furthermore, the Religious Gift Shop and the Shrine will be closed.

No buildings and/or restrooms will be open for visitors since we do not have the means to assure proper and complete sanitizing.

Although we are disappointed that we cannot provide a welcoming hospitality, we are also mindful of our responsibility to foster the health and well being of all.








By |2020-08-24T16:44:49+00:00August 24th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Beginning with a Divine Liturgy of Thanksgiving on July 20, three Sisters of St. Basil celebrated their anniversaries of religious life: Diamond Jubilarian, Sister Leocadia Sevachko, and 70th Anniversary Jubilarians, Sister Salome Yanochko and Sister Fabian Krassa,

The lives of these Sisters are all about an affirmation of love. At Baptism these Sisters were given the wonderful gift of faith and brought into the family of love. They began a journey, a journey motivated by love of God, a journey by which they were drawn to live in a community of love. Each in her own way translated this love into service to the Church. Archbishop William Skurla congratulated the Sister Jubilarians and thanked them for faithfully living out that love in their lives and in service to the Church.

Sr. Leocadia entered the Sisters of St. Basil from St. Nicholas parish in Youngstown, Ohio. Sr. Leocadia’s teaching assignments spanned 57 years in elementary education. Her assignments also included a number of years when she served as both teacher and principal. The first to enter the community, Sr. Leocadia has the distinction of being one of three sisters in community; Sr. Dorothy, now deceased, and Sr. Bernarda. After completing her final mission in the Youngstown Area Churches, Sr. Leocadia now resides at the Motherhouse.

Sr. Salome’s home parish is St. Mary’s in Freeland, Pa.  From 1953, when she was first assigned to teach, Sr. Salome had been busy shaping the lives of first and second graders. Sister brought to this ministry the gift of her gentle ways and her enthusiasm for any advances in methodology. She took great delight in learning and using whatever technology was available in to help those entrusted to her care. Now retired from the teaching ministry, Sr. Salome resides at the Motherhouse assisting in sacristan duties.

Sr. Fabian entered the community from St. John the Baptist Church in Uniontown, Pa. Her ministry experience was also largely focused on education, both as a teacher and principal. In a departure from this ministry, Sr. Fabian desired to serve in Rome, Italy. There she worked for seven years in the library of the Pontifical Oriental Institute. Precious to her of her time in Rome were the many times she was able to be at audiences of Pope St. John Paul II. Sr. Fabian presently is a resident at Mt. Macrina Manor.

At the festive dinner following the Divine Liturgy, Sr. Ruth thanked each of the Sisters for the special and unique gifts each brought to her ministry. Although they are often fondly remembered by past students, the countless lives they touched are known only to God. May God grant these Jubilarians many blessed, happy, and spiritually fruitful years!


The Young Adults of the Byzantine Archeparchy of Pittsburgh Announce new Byzantine Book Club

By |2020-08-21T16:49:29+00:00August 21st, 2020|Uncategorized|

Glory to Jesus Christ!

The Young Adults of the Byzantine Archeparchy of Pittsburgh are excited to announce a new Byzantine Book club to be held virtually and we want to hear from you!

Our first step is gauging interest and fine tuning some basics. Our hope is to meet online, probably by Zoom, once per month, probably the last Monday of the month from 7:30 – 8:30, for reading and discussion focusing on the intersections of Eastern theology, this modern world we live in, our ancient faith, and being a young adult in the greater church. This group is sponsored by Pittsburgh Byzantine Catholic Young Adults, which if that describes you, here is a Facebook group to join.   and also sponsored by the Sisters of St. Basil the Great, Uniontown PA.  Incidentally here is another Facebook page you may wish to follow.

The first book we have chosen, at Sr. Barbara Jean’s fantastic suggestion, is St. Basil the Great’s commentary on Social Justice. “On Social Justice: St. Basil the Great.” This is available from the St. Vladimir Press Bookstore at , I’ve also seen it on Amazon. The first essay we will be looking at is available online at Please begin to read this essay to prepare for the first evening, August 31, 7:30 pm EDT.

I’m constantly surprised, and amazed how the church fathers speak so effortlessly through the centuries bringing the wisdom so topical and so needed to the discourse of today. This deep and thought provoking book challenges us to live our faith, even and especially in challenging times. In this time of Covid19 as we have all gotten tragically familiar with online video conferences and feel even more keenly our need for the fellowship of our community of believers, it is my hope that this community study into St. Basil’s wisdom can help inform, challenge, and strengthen our faith and to grow in wisdom, courage and charity as we respond to Christ’s call to us toward theosis.

So if diving into a book of Patristic theology with a community of young Byzantines sounds as appealing to you as it does to us (or you are just happy to find a social gathering that is free of charge and are any age at all, but feel you could be enriched by attending) please email your interest so we can start to gather hard numbers for planning going forward. Likewise if you are interested and have feedback about a good platform, day/time to meet, or have strong opinions if we should keep our working group title of “The Steel City Byzantines Book Club” or change it to “The Church Fathers’ are still Speaking”, or any other questions please direct them to Sam Tima, who has graciously volunteered to watch the email account at  As people register we will send out information to connect to the video chat. Hope to see you there! Father Will Rupp and Sister Barbara Jean, OSBM will participate in the sessions.

Send your registration notice or questions to Sam Tima at for the opening session, August 31, 7:30 pm EDT.


Come!  Invite a friend and come!

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July 2020


By |2020-07-27T18:17:52+00:00July 27th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Twice a year the Sisters of St. Basil gather for community meetings at the Mount. The theme for the July 20-23 meetings was “Rejoicing in a Century of Ministry.”

The days were filled with a variety of events: blessing of vehicles on the feast of Elijah the Great Prophet, celebrating the Jubilee of three Sisters, taping hymns for our virtual Pilgrimage, celebrating our 100th anniversary of ministry, preparing for our upcoming Provincial Chapter and reflecting on reports from our Provincial and Treasurer.

One afternoon the Sisters spent time sharing their memories of Mother Macrina Melynchuk, the foundress of our Province, The Sisters also shared memories of inspiring and humorous incidents of their years in community.

On the final meeting day, Father John G. Petro was invited to speak to the community and to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy.  His theme was “My Joy: Christ Is Risen!” He explained how the joy of the Resurrection is to be the overriding theme of our life, and how our Church reminds us of this in the prayers of each Sunday when we celebrate a “little Easter”.

The annual Missioning Service concluded the program. Each Sister offered a written outline of her years in ministry which were held aloft before the altar in thanksgiving to God for his gifts. The Sisters received copies of their personal vocation memories in the form of letters they wrote to the officials of the community when advancing through the stages of their formation.  A celebration in the dining room completed the days.


June 2020

Young Adult Retreat Schedule Announced

By |2020-06-24T15:25:42+00:00June 16th, 2020|Uncategorized|

The Young Adult Virtual Weekend Retreat, Authentic Discipleship: Responding to Christ’s Call in the Post-Modern World, will be held June 26-28, 2020. The retreat is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Basil the Great and Mount St. Macrina House of Prayer.

The retreat is open to all Christian men and women, single or married, ages 18-35.

Those who register will meet by via the internet. Download the Updated Schedule.

Please register by June 25 and receive the link to participate. You may register by email: or via the mail: House of Prayer, 510 W. Main Street, Uniontown, PA 15401. Your $50 donation supports the House of Prayer.

If you have questions or need additional information, please call 724-438-7149.

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Religious Gift Shop Reopens

By |2020-06-02T18:38:48+00:00June 2nd, 2020|Uncategorized|

The Religious Gift Shop at Mount St. Macrina is now open Tuesdays and Saturdays, 12:30-3:30 p.m. These are temporary hours and further announcements will be made regarding any changes. Please stay tuned and thank you for your continued support. You are required to wear a mask while shopping at the Religious Gift Shop and please maintain social distance. For further information, call 724-439-6180.

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May 2020

Important Announcement Regarding Pilgrimage

By |2020-05-27T17:26:39+00:00May 27th, 2020|Uncategorized|


My dear Friends,

As we put up our 2020 calendars, I’m sure we did so hoping to fill each page with many plans, hopes, goals, and aspirations.   We had it all figured out…

Needless to say, having passed through one fourth of this year, the picture looks entirely different.  We all find ourselves in situations that we never expected or imagined stretching our faith and trust.  We need to dig deep into our spiritual treasure chest for encouragement.  One phrase I like to remember is: “The only way to stay above the water is to trust the One who walked on the waves.”

When we make plans, I imagine the Lord looks down upon us, shaking his head and smiling as He looks at what is actually on the horizon.  So what do we do?  We trust, we pray, we hold our plans with open hands.  We surrender them to Him.

Such has been our need as Sisters of St. Basil. We met, we discussed, we came up with ideas and plans to celebrate our 100th anniversary – a Century of Ministry to the Byzantine Catholic Church.  Then COVID-19 arrived on the scene, and everything changed.  We, too, need to remember that just because what’s going on now doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t mean God’s not working.  Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.  We, too, strive to give up control and allow the Spirit of God to lead our lives.

One of the most difficult changes that we need to accept is the decision to cancel the Pilgrimage gathering in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.  In the interest of safety and well-being of all, we will follow the lead of so many others and adhere to the guidelines provided.  It is our intent, however, to work on providing a series of internet services which pilgrims can watch from their own homes.  So, this year we will be making a pilgrimage of the “heart” rather than a pilgrimage of the “feet”.

We know that all of you are likewise going through your own life changes and adjustments.  Together, we Sisters and friends are like a quilt with lots of different shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. Together, through our prayers for each other, we find warmth and comfort in a support system that makes our lives richer and fuller.  Together, we discover God’s plan for us.

With our loving prayers and support,

Sister Ruth Plante, OSBM



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April 2020


By |2020-04-13T17:52:14+00:00April 13th, 2020|Uncategorized|

For Sister Mary Grace, Holy Week 2020 was to be the threshold of her entrance into the life for which she yearned. Her last words to Sister Ruth, Provincial, were “I want to go to heaven.” In mid-afternoon of Holy Wednesday, April 8, 2020, she got her wish. She had received the Mystery of Holy Anointing earlier in that week, and so she was well prepared to meet Jesus to whom she had dedicated 63 years of her life.

Sister Mary Grace (Marion) was born in Dunmore, PA, the daughter of the late John and Mary Margaret (Lesko) Skuban. She entered the Sisters of St. Basil from St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Taylor, PA on October 1, 1957 and received her Final Profession of Vows on August 25, 1963 in the presence of the late Very Rev. Msgr. Basil Smochko.

As a Sister of St. Basil, Sister Mary Grace was called to a variety of ministries. Sister had been on the staff of Mt. Macrina Manor as an LPN in direct nursing care and later, in medical records. She had also served at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary, at Mt. Macrina House of Prayer, as Activities Director at St. Basil’s Home and as a substitute teacher. At the monastery, she served for a number of years as monastery sacristan, as well as assisting with the health care of the Sisters and in clerical and other supportive services.

Her final years were spent as a resident at Mt. Macrina Manor. At the Manor, until Sister Mary Grace was no longer able to do so, she participated in the Divine Liturgy and other services planned for the residents’ spiritual nourishment and refreshment. One cannot forget, either, her daily praying of the rosary. One of her requests was to have the rosary she prayed on with her on her final journey.

Sister enjoyed taking part in the activities offered at the Manor; she was a familiar figure at the sing-along on Sunday morning, and whenever there was Bingo, she was there, too. She was always quick to thank those who visited, accompanied by a smile and “God be with you!”

Following is a reflection Sister wrote upon completing a sabbatical program. “The Lord is my Shepherd . . . He takes care of me and my needs better than I can ever do myself. That He has such great love for me is really overwhelming! For this, I am most grateful. It gives meaning and purpose for my life’s journey . . . It lets me know I am solidly grounded in His love.” These thoughts, spoken from Sister’s heart are the best way to portray her life! Now she lives even more fully in a heavenly sabbatical!

Sister Mary Grace was preceded in death by her parents and her three brothers, John (Eleanor), Andrew (Julie), and Joseph (Kay). She is the last surviving member of her immediate family.

The Divine Liturgy will be celebrated privately in the Monastery Chapel on Tuesday, April 14, by Rev. Jerome Botsko, Monastery Chaplain. There will be no public viewing.

Donald R. Crawford Funeral Home, Hopwood, is in charge of arrangements.