Carmelite Nuns Arrive in Eastern Siberia

Bishop´s Program Is Progressing Despite His Absence

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IRKUTSK, Russia, JUNE 25, 2002 ( Bishop Jerzy Mazur´s absence from the Diocese of St. Joseph has not hindered it from going ahead with his plans to bring more religious to eastern Siberia.

According to the Vidimus Dominum information service, four Discalced Carmelite nuns arrived in the city of Usole last week, where they will contribute to the work of the Carmelite men religious from the Warsaw Province.

The nuns´ superior is Mother Urszula Kapusta, former prioress of the Monastery of Kalisz. The other three nuns come from Kalisz, Wloclawek and Gdynia Orlowo.

Usole is a place dear to the Carmelite memory: It was where St. Raphael Kalinowski (1835-1907) was exiled. Bishop Mazur envisioned a complex of facilities there, with the monastery, the convent of the Carmelites and the sanctuary in the city, all named after St. Raphael. Three other nuns who wish to work in Siberia are ready to depart.

During a recent visit to Rome, Bishop Mazur stressed that he was keeping in touch with the diocese, via Internet and telephone. «I feel very near, despite the great geographical distances,» he said.

Last April, Bishop Mazur was refused entry at the airport in Moscow while he was preparing to return to his diocese after a trip to Poland. The expulsion came in the wake of the Vatican´s decision to elevate four apostolic administrations in Russia to the rank of dioceses.

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