Byzantine Catholic Church in America: News
Sisters of St. Basil at Mount St. Macrina to be featured on Pittsburgh's WQED-TV


March 2, 2006, Uniontown, Pa. -- The Sisters of St. Basil, a Byzantine Catholic community of women religious, will be featured on WQED-TV’s “OnQ Magazine” on March 27, 2006. The program will offer viewers two separate segments hosted by Mike Clark.

“Over the past two years, it has been quite a pleasure getting to know the Sisters of St. Basil. Their gracious hospitality and their willingness to share their stories with me have been truly inspirational,” said Mike Clark, host of the segment. Clark is also the news anchor at WTAE-TV, Channel 4 in Pittsburgh.

One segment will focus on religious life in former communist countries. Sister Barbara Jean Mihalchick, OSBM, a member of the resource council of a project called “Sister Survivors of European Communism”, recounts the ordeals of those who remained faithful to their vows in an underground movement that lasted under communist rule from 1945 to 1990. “Despite communism, religious life continued. Women religious took many risks to practice their faith – vows were taken in secret, liturgies were celebrated in underground locations, and habits were worn only at secret ceremonies,” explained Sister Barbara Jean.

Sister Barbara Jean is the only member from the Eastern Catholic Church involved in this endeavor. In the 1990’s, as a member of the General Administration of the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great, her ministry led her to Eastern Europe where she served as a member of the General Administration of the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great.

Under communist rule, the order's members in Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine and Romania were forced to abandon their community lives and ministries and lived and worked as seculars. Some sisters worked in factories while others worked on collective farms. During their struggle, they remained strong and kept their vows and practiced their faith.

In an additional segment, viewers will be taken on a tour of the beautiful grounds of Mount St. Macrina. The property, once owned by wealthy coal baron J.V. Thompson and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was acquired by the Sisters in 1934. Now decades later, the Sisters of St. Basil offer needed facilities and seminars for spiritual growth and prayer at The House of Prayer, elder care at Mount Macrina Manor, and an addiction rehabilitation facility for women at Another Way that is located on their property.

Sister Seraphim Olsafsky, OSBM, is the newly elected Provincial of the Province. When asked about her comments on Mount St. Macrina and the rich history shared by the Sisters, she said, “So many times, we sisters comment on the beauty of Mount Saint Macrina and the privilege that is ours to live, pray, and work here.”

Viewers will also enjoy an inside look into the sisters’ heritage room located in the Monastery. The heritage room showcases a fine collection of historical photographs and artifacts exhibiting the interesting and blessed history of the order.

A big part of that history is the annual Pilgrimage in Honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. It is this event that many throughout the region associate the Sisters. The tradition of this special ministry took root in 1935 with the gift of an Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, sent by Pope Pius XI with the request that the Sisters spread devotion to the Mother of God under this title. Held every

Labor Day weekend since 1934, the Sisters of St. Basil welcome thousands of pilgrims of all denominations and from all over the world to Mount St. Macrina.

“OnQ Magazine” airs on WQED-TV at 7:30 p.m. For further information, visit

The Sisters of St. Basil the Great respond in sensitivity and service to the needs of the Catholic Church and of the people. Their ministries encompass prayer, education, communications, cultural and heritage studies, translation and publication of liturgical books, religious education and organizational work, iconography and fine arts, health-related services, retreat work, social and pastoral ministry, and ecclesiastical arts and sewing. Sisters also serve in the Chanceries of the various Byzantine Catholic Eparchies (Dioceses), and in the Generalate, their headquarters in Rome. The Sisters are known internationally for their annual Pilgrimage in Honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. For further information, contact the Sisters directly at (724) 438-8644.


For further information, contact:

Susan McCarthy
McCarthy Public Relations
1111 Chestnut Street
Connellsville, PA 15425
(724) 628-6956


| | ©2006