The Sisters in Jesus the Lord, a missionary order based at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Raytown, serve in orphanages and homes for the elderly poor in Vladivostok, Russia and neighboring villages. The Sisters are seeking donations of Montessori teaching equipment to take to Vladivostok to help the children, especially those ages 3 – 6, learn academic and life skills, which will boost their self-esteem and independence.
The Sisters have been working in the Russian Far East since 2002 and are in the process of establishing a convent in Vladivostok. Currently Sisters Maria Stella and Catherine Marie live and work in Vladivostok. They volunteer at three state-run Russian orphanages, in Vladivostok, Nakhodka, and Lesozavodsk, and at a state-run home for the elderly poor in Vladivostok.
Sister Faustina Marie, who tentatively plans to travel to Russia in December, said their co-order, “the Canons Regular of Jesus the Lord, run the parish in Vladivostok and recognized the need for volunteer service at the orphanage and home for the elderly poor in the city. Their brothers and seminarians volunteer in both places, and it is also part of the mission of the Sisters in Jesus the Lord to help these orphans and elderly.”
Sister Faustina Marie plans to take donated teaching materials in her luggage. “Materials are taken in luggage,” she said, “since the customs fees are so high for shipped items. Materials that do not fit in my luggage will be sent with future mission teams. Some mission trips are organized each year, including one each summer with the American Fellowship of Catholic University Students mission team.”
Sister Faustina served as a teaching intern at The Children’s House, Christ the King Parish’s Montessori School, during the past school year. She said working with children through the Montessori approach to teaching made an impact on her and she looks forward to taking both materials and method to Russian children.
“Some of these children grow up in under-staffed orphanages or in homes affected by alcoholism, abuse, and neglect,” she said. “Their learning, even of basic life skills, is hindered by such conditions. Many lack solid relationships with adults. They could benefit greatly not only from Christian love and care but also from the head start, order, and independence gained from the Montessori approach to education.
“Maria Montessori developed her teaching approach through observations of children. She saw that they became so attracted to and engaged in what they were doing, whether a task or learning a skill, that when they completed the task or learned the skill, they felt a sense of accomplishment. Their self-esteem, confidence and independence increased.”
There are a number of universal Montessori teaching materials that help develop a child’s sensorial, mathematical and practical life skills. (Because of the alphabetical differences, Sister Faustina said language materials would have to be developed using the Cyrillic alphabet.) Some of the sensorial materials they are seeking are pink stackable towers and color tablets. Spindle rods and bead chains will help teach math and counting skills, and trays are useful in teaching practical life skills.
The Sisters will refurbish teaching materials before putting them to use, so materials in any condition will be welcomed. They are also in need of frequent flyer miles.
The Sisters would greatly appreciate any donations of Montessori teaching materials. Please send donations to The Sisters in Jesus the Lord, 7049 Blue Ridge Blvd., Raytown, Mo., 64133.