OLP Statement on Ukraine

Dear OLP Community Members,

This past weekend, like many around the world, my family and I were transfixed, as we watched on the

OLP prayer service for Ukraine

Artwork by OLP student Kendall Bitter ’22 next to the Ukrainian flag

news unimaginable events unfold in Ukraine—events that I thought were relegated to our history books. With heavy hearts and fervent prayers, we entered into the Lenten season dedicated to the call from Pope Francis that Ash Wednesday on March 2 be dedicated to fasting and prayers of peace on behalf of Ukraine.

In the midst of this turmoil, my thoughts keep returning to the Butterfly Project and Pieta here at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace, and the challenge that resides in the words and example of Ann Frank and Corrie Ten Boom, both coming together in the Martha McRoskey Interfaith Place of Peace. It serves as a reminder, as inheritors of our Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet’s charism of “unifying love” and their mission of “all may be one,” that we are all called to be upstanders.

I pray fervently for the Ukrainian men, women, children, so many of whom are speaking out from basements in bomb shelters, having left loved ones and turned into refugees. I pray for Ukrainian leadership, and most especially, President Zelensky, Ukraine’s first Jewish president, so courageously leading his country and people. I pray for peace. I pray for the Russian people as well, many caught up in a war not of their choosing. I pray that the Lord might watch over them. In the face of not knowing what else to do, I pray.

And I feel a spirit of camaraderie reading Maria Shriver’s “Sunday Paper” as she similarly grapples with this sense of Let’s Not Turn Away, but wrestles with the question of what to do. In her final paragraph she challenges us all to be “messengers of peace”—to simultaneously face our own pain and that in our world. She challenges readers: “Let us not turn away from the situation in Ukraine. Let us hold up the heroes, tell the stories of the courageous, and pray.”

In the wisdom of our Sisters, I also find solace in Maxim 32, which reminds us: “Don’t reject or judge what life is offering you. Be present to it. It makes all the difference.” We cannot begin to know what will transpire in the weeks to come on the world stage. What we can be assured of is that God is in control. He will continue to watch over his almost-140-year-old Academy of Our Lady of Peace, its young women, faculty, staff, alumnae, and families. As my favorite church hymn reminds us, “when we can’t see his hand, trust his heart.”

OLP Prayer Service for Ukraine

OLP Prayer Service for Ukraine

This Lenten season 2022, may we rest in the hope that God continues to bestow his gracious gifts upon us, and remain fervent in our prayers for peace in Ukraine and in our world. May our dear neighbor, no matter how far they reside, know our love and compassion, through the prayers we offer up this Lenten season.

To learn more about how to support those in need in Ukraine, visit:

Lauren Lek, Ed.D.
Head of School