Later in 1963 she was assigned with Sister Josepha, M.S.M.G. to open Ukrainian Assumption Catholic School within the Ukrainian Assumption Church parish. In the 50 years since then, she has served only at this parish and has performed multiple roles at the parish school, all the while overseeing the religious instruction of several generations of the school’s graduates.
Known affectionately to many of her students as “Little Sister”, Sr. Yosaphata’s achievements have included being a grade teacher, teaching Ukrainian and religion at all grade levels, preparing children for Holy Communion, moderating the Junior Sodality, and training altar boys. She currently serves as the Vice Principal and Financial Administrator of Assumption Catholic School.
Highlights from Sr. Yosaphata’s lifetime of dedication to her Order, the Ukrainian Assumption Church parish and the parish school were warmly remembered by speakers throughout the event.
The day’s celebration began with a Divine Liturgy celebrated by Metropolitan Soroka and co-celebrated by Archbishop-Metropolitan Emeritus Sulyk, Fr. Dubitsky, current parish pastor Fr. Ivan Turyk, Fr. Silvio Litvenczuk, Deacon Michael Waak, Deacon Paul Maker, and other clergy.
During his homily, Metropolitan Soroka noted that Sr. Yosaphata has been blessed with gifts of “charisma” and the ability to influence children in a very personal manner, and that hundreds of graduates from the parish school have benefitted from her guidance. At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Sr. Yosaphata renewed her spiritual vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience before Metropolitan Soroka.
Following the Liturgy the parish community filled to capacity the auditorium of Assumption Catholic School, to further celebrate and recognize Sr. Yosaphata’s milestone achievements. The banquet was opened by a prayer from Archbishop-Metropolitan Emeritus Sulyk, and was emceed by Mr. Andrij Wowk (UAS’80).
Guests were entertained by current The Glee Club, Junior Drama Club, and Chimmetteers of Assumption Catholic School, who performed five musical numbers under the direction of Mrs. Melanie Lawrence. Also appearing was the parish Choir “Boyan” under the direction of Mra. Alla Korotsil, which performed the works “Molit’sia liudy” (Pray, of People), “C’aryc’e nebesna” (Heavenly Mother), and “V nas vira jedyna” (We Have One Faith).
In her remarks on behalf of the choir, Mrs. Collette Baginsky (UAS ’75) noted that Sr. Yosaphata’s deep love for music as a teacher led many graduates of the parish school to later join “Boyan”, as well as to continue to be involved in Ukrainian cultural activities as adults.
Other speakers during the banquet included Sr. Evhenia Prusnay, the Mother Superior of the Missionary Sisters of the Mother of God, who shared childhood memories of Sr. Yosephata while they were both growing up in Brazil, and Mr. Michael Szpyhilsky, the current Principal of Assumption Catholic School, who expressed his admiration and gratitude to Sr. Yosaphata for her history and continued work as an educator within the school.
They were followed by the event’s keynote speaker, former pastor Fr. Roma Dubitsky , who served as the parish pastor for 30 of Sr. Yosaphata’s 50 years of service. Fr. Dubitsky recounted St. Yosephata’s numerous contributions to the school and parish community but also her many talents, which include cooking, baking altar breads, sewing Ukrainian embroidery and making pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs) and Ukrainian ceramics. Fr. Dubitsky also noted Sr. Yosaphata’s help with various tasks that were required during the founding of the church’s “sister parish”, St. Stephen’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Toms River, NJ.
Greetings and blessings to Sr. Yospahata were also read from Bishop Paul Patrick Chomnycky, O.S.B.M.. of the Stamford, CT diocese.
Following the presentation of gifts to Sr. Yosaphata by representatives of the parish organizations, Sr. Yosaphata herself addressed the assembled guests. She thanked them for their generosity and for recognizing this milestone in her spiritual career, and noted that she considered her years of service to the Church not so much her own personal achievement, but rather God’s achievement in calling her to a spiritual vocation and in supporting her throughout it.
Fr. Ivan Turyk closed the day’s festivities with a solemn benediction, in which he prayed that Sr. Yosphata “have the joy and satisfaction here on Earth that her example, her sacrifice, her work over the course of 50 years inspired others to “reach for the unreachable stars” and become “all things to all people” just as she did. On this day of jubilee, we lift our voices in praise and thanksgiving that God grant Sr. Yosaphata many more years of good health and vitality…”