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Sorores Jesu Eucharistici - History

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The Congregation of the Sisters of Eucharistic Jesus was founded by the Jesuit Fr. Pranciskus Masilionis (1902–1980) in 1947, during the time of the communist persecution of Lithuania. From its institution the Congregation was active in the Catholic Church’s pastoral ministries, missionary work, and the resistance movement: the sisters were working under constant persecution, resisting the communist regime and seeking freedom of faith in the country and defending the human rights of all. Many of them were involved in the underground work of publishing The Chronicles of the Lithuanian Catholic Church and in religious education, organizing and leading religious movements for lay people such as Friends of the Eucharist, founded in 1969. The sisters were interrogated, searched, and imprisoned by the communists; however, they drew inspiration from the first Christians and continued to risk their freedom and life fearlessly. The congregation grew and spread to other countries of the former Soviet Union: Latvia, Moldova, and Kazakhstan.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the sisters sought to find best way to respond to the needs of society and the Church in transition. The first ten years of the country’s independence were marked by the search for an authentic way to live their consecrated life and apostolic commitments in the new political and social situation. In response to the great need for spiritual leadership and the lack of religious education and formation in post-soviet society, the sisters studied in Lithuania and abroad and started projects of religious education for children, youth, and adults. During the Soviet era, they were pioneers in giving retreats to lay people. Many sisters were among the first formally trained spiritual directors; they also played a key role in the development of the current retreat programs in the countries in which they reside.

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