Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A women's work is always done!

The year is 1995. 

In the year 1995, Salomėja Vasiliauskienė was president of the the Lithuanian Catholic Women’s Society , Saulienė Pušdešrienė was secretary, Birutė Budrienė was Treasurer and Jovita Vosylienė looked after everything else.

They did have helpers, Terese Gasiunienė was the Prayer Coordinator, Stefa Ciplienė organised the church decorations, Prane Horskienė took care of the priests robes and Judita Nekrošienė visited those sick in hospital.    Elena Baltutienė was in charge of inventory and Stasė Bardauskienė oversaw the kitchen.

In that year, Judita visited 74 sick people, 48 of whom were in nursing homes.
Six priests visiting and stayed at the Catholic centre, which meant the women oversaw all their food and accommodation needs.

The Catholic Women held 15 meetings, they participated in the Australian Catholic procession in honour of St Mary.  They visited the Baltic homes, organised and catered for the ‘Užgavėnės Balius’ (Ash Wednesday Ball).  They organised the annual ‘Šiupinys’ (medley concert), this being the 35th one. 

Lithuanian participating in the Catholic procession
of St Mary, at Rostrevor.
Lunch followed by coffee and cake was made after each Sunday mass.  Then the dishes had to be washed, the church hall cleaned and the church cleaned.

The women held lotteries which supported the Australian Lithuanian newspapers, Šventadieno Balsas, Melbourne’s Tėviškes Aidas, and churches in Lithuania.

Many of these activities made money, and so what did the women do?  They donated it of course.  The profits were donated to those in hunger, Lithuanian church, St Casimir’s College in Rome, a blind nephew of a church member, and the Deportees home in Vilnius.  Money was donated to local groups, the Vytis sports Club, the Radio hour, the Lithuanian weekend schools.  Some money was spent on new table cloths for the church hall and a new meat mincer.

The Women’s Society earned that year $10,399.15.  They spent $10, 221.54, leaving them with a total of $177.61.

The hours of volunteer work that these women gave, year after year always astounds me.  They had their own families, their work, their own homes to tend, but the Lithuanian community was so vital to their existence that they always found time.

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