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