H/T: Diocese of Kosovo and Metohija (here) this story appeared in the Serbian paper Vecernje Novosti:
A Nun Who Prays, Heals and Comforts – Philanthropy and Patriotism in Action
The most noblest of podvigs: Sister Irine, a doctor by profession, visits the elderly and infirm throughout Kosovo and Metohija. A nun for ten years from Gracanica helps the isolated in enclaves and villages.
At the doorsteps of dilapidated or just built homes of those who have returned, in villages hardly anyone stops to pay a visit, the nun Irine eagerly awaits the few Serbs weekly throughout Kosovo and Metohija. Irine Petrovic, a doctor by profession and a nun at the Gracanica Monastery, has been visiting and treating the elderly and sick for the past ten years, as well as those who have returned to the isolated enclaves and villages of Metohija.
“For the past ten years, when, after the arrival of international forces, our monastery became a collection center for medicine, when I realized that the lack of freedom of movement for Serbs and other non-Albanians prevented them from even going to the doctor, the monastery suggested to me that I use my medical knowledge and help,” says Sister Irine. She says, with the blessing of the church, in order to avoid possible problems, she established a medical organization “St. John the Merciful,” and with the help of a number of doctors from central Kosovo and Metohija, at the latter part of 2001 she officially began her humanitarian mission throughout Kosovo and Metohija. Using a gift of the Greek Orthodox Church, a monastery van which she filled with medicine that she procured through humanitarian organizations she would travel to those who had no one else to help them.
“It is most difficult for the elderly and I visit them the most,” said the nun. Muslim come quite frequently for check-ups and at times even Albanians …
“When I visited the Drajcice village near Prizren for the first time with Dr. Zvonko Stašević, an internist and nephrologist, residents formed a line to be examined. Apart from the few Serbs, who were mostly elderly residents, it was mostly their Muslim neighbors who came to the examination. And one of them even allowed us to use their home for the exams.
Where no one has gone before
“During the first years after establishing the medical organization I went to Serbian communities where previously no Serb has gone before. Me and my colleages, when they would go with me, were accompanied by UNMIK police from Pristina, while the last few years I have gone without escorts.
I’ve continued to visit them, she says. I would bring them medicine which I somehow acquired through donations that mostly come from Greece and have now stopped …
And the seventy year old Momirka Simic from Novak who returned to her home near Prizren. She says Sister Irene keeps her and her neighbors alive.
“We are sick, old and alone. We have no one to talk to. When Sster Irine visits each time she examines us, brings us medicine but we also have a good talk. She comforts us. She cheers us up. Sometimes she brings food. If it wasn’t for her I don’t know who would open our door.”
All twenty some villages where Serbs have returned in Metohija, in the Istok and Klina counties, can’t wait for Sister Irine’s visits who also administers twice a week at the Health Centre in Susica. But also to the monasteries in Kosovo. For Sister Irine, of course also treats the nuns at the Pec Patriarchate, Monastery Devic …
Help is still needed
“Even though in the past years our country opened medical clinics in almost all major Serbian areas, there are still many patients treated by our organization. It is mostly the elderly who, either due to weakness or poor financial conditions, are unable to regularly visit doctors,” says Sister Irine.
D. Zecevic (Vecernje Novosti), Wednesday 19th October 2011