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The icon of Blessed Josaphata Hordashevska on an altar in the school gym


The Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate (SSMI), the religious order of nuns who own and operate our school, will be celebrating the 125th anniversary of the founding of their order in 2017. This important milestone is still two years away, but preparations are already underway to celebrate the event. m6


The painting of Blessed Josaphata that hangs over the front stairs of the school


Josaphataicon The most interesting preparation currently underway is a travelling pilgrimage icon of Blessed Josaphata Hordashevska, one of the founders of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. Blessed Josaphata founded the order along with Father Jeremiah Lomnytsky, OSBM in Lviv in 1892. She was beatified (the third of four steps required to become a saint) on June 27, 2001 by Pope John Paul II, and given the title “Blessed”.


The icon of Blessed Josaphata was commissioned in 2013 by Sr. Theresa Slota, Superior General of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. It’s a reliquary icon, so embedded within it is a first class relic (note that a first-class relic is the physical bodily remains of a saint or blessed like bones, blood or hair). After its completion, the icon was then blessed by Patriarch Sviatoslav (who visited IHMS in September 2012) before beginning its journey around the world. So far, the icon has travelled to destinations in North and South America, and is currently making its way across Canada.


This closeup view of the icon shows the charm on Blessed Josaphata’s wrist which contains a first class relic, in this case, a tiny bone


Click here to view the icon’s Manitoba schedule


Why was the icon of Blessed Josaphata
Hordashevska brought to IHMS?
Over the past 123 years, the religious order founded by Blessed Josaphata Hordashevska has grown and spread throughout the world. SSMI missions are active and thriving across Canada, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and Poland.
One of the earliest SSMI missions was established in 1905 in Winnipeg’s north end – St. Nicholas School (later renamed Immaculate Heart of Mary School). Our school has been in continuous operation for almost 110 years, and has the distinction of being the longest running continuous mission of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate in the world!



On Monday, May 11th, the travelling pilgrimage icon of Blessed Josaphata Hordashevska made its way to IHMS, where it remained for 2 days. On the morning of its arrival, the students and staff of IHMS gathered in the gym immediately after opening exercises for a prayer service dedicated to Blessed Josaphata.


The students gathered in the gym, waiting for the prayer service to begin


The icon was accompanied by two Sisters, Sr. Darleane Pelechaty, SSMI and Sr. Ruth Aney, SSMI. It was carried via a procession into the gym and placed onto a temporary altar by Sr. Anne Pidskanly, SSMI, the school’s Sadochok and Kindergarten teacher. During the procession to the altar, a student from each grade carried a lit candle as Sr Anne reverently held up the icon for everyone to see.


The icon was brought out in a procession led by students with lighted candles and placed on an altar at the front of the gym


Most of the prayer service was conducted by Sr. Darleane and Sr. Ruth, where they taught the students a short prayer to Blessed Josaphata in Ukrainian. They also presented a gift of a potted fern plant to each grade.


Sr. Darleane and Sr. Ruth conducting the prayer service (top photos) and students carrying a potted fern for their classrooms (bottom photos)


After the service, the icon, accompanied by Sr. Darleane and Sr. Ruth, began visiting each of the classrooms in the school. The classroom visits were about 30 minutes in length, and during this time the two Sisters explained the history and importance of the icon, and then answered any questions the students had afterwards.
The icon visited the kindergarten and grade 4-8 classes on Monday, and the grade 1-3 classes on Tuesday morning.



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