Radoslava Chernukha was a remarkable woman, who meant a lot to many people in Ukraine. She worked as construction and design engineer in Aircraft company and she was a Lay Dominican. In the ‘Chain of preachers of hope’ the Lay Dominicans from the Province of Russia and Ukraine commemorate her and share her story with all their brothers and sisters in Europe.
Radoslava Chernukha was born in the Poltava region in 1925. Having survived the Famine and the Second World War, in the Soviet Union era she was a typical person of her time. Being a gifted individual, Radoslava obtained an advanced technical degree and worked in various construction and design offices in the field of aircraft engineering, for a long time having chaired one of the departments of O.K. Antonov Aircraft Design Bureau in Kyiv, where she worked until her retirement.
Till the end of her life she retained a bright mind, clear thinking and outstanding organizational skills, especially revealed in the love for her neighbour after receiving the Sacrament of Baptism in 1993.
Her kindness was attracting many people, both young and elderly, whom she embraced with the warmth of her heart and wisdom. She was always sympathetic to people in their sufferings, either spiritual or worldly, comforted them and prayed for them to God. She often used to say: “If you need, feel free to call me any time of the day or night to pray”. She often practised an examination of conscience and confession, trying to take part in Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist every day. In the last years of her life she devoted herself completely to God and did not care about what to eat and drink, or what to wear. The Lord God solved those issues through other people who visited her bringing medicine, food and clothes.
With a view to resisting temptations, Radoslava kept renewing her Baptismal vows as well as perpetual promises of the Third Order of Dominican Laity, being among the first to join it in Kiev (Kyiv). She stood at the origins of the Kiev Fraternity of St. Hyacinth, communicated with many priests, nuns, students and former members, contributed to the development of the project of the Ukrainian Lay Dominicans’ directory. The meetings of Lay Dominicans were sometimes held in her apartment.
Before the end of her life Sister Radoslava wrote an autobiographical essay entitled “The Way”, where in a creative manner she spiritually reflected on God’s part in her life, both before receiving the Sacrament of Baptism and, especially, afterwards. She described how the Divine Providence had brought her together with specific people of the Catholic Church – many of whom we know – who helped her to develop and strengthen her faith. The confession to fr. Andrey Madey OMI was of great importance at the beginning of her Christian life. According to her own words, she was grateful to him for his preaching and prayer, for the experience of seeing Jesus Christ even in a difficult often rather unpleasant, human being, who wished her harm.
Gratitude to God and people as an expression of love and respect towards another person was dwelling within Sister Radoslava’s heart, having been reflected in the pages of her writings where many contemporaries may find their names and the words of thankfulness.
Before having become a Dominican laywoman, Radoslava joined the Family of the Most Holy Heart of Jesus, where she stayed until the end of her life always rejoicing when her turn came to pray for nine days in succession.
The patron saint of Sister Radoslava was St. Raymond of Pennafort, a prominent Spanish Churchman of the thirteenth century, lawyer and canonist, miracle-worker who had been the Master of the Order of Preachers for several years. It happened as follows: on January 7, 2003, when she was about to start working on the second version of the directory for Lay Dominicans in Ukraine, she read his name in the list of Saints, and then, as Sister Radoslava wrote, “the work on the directory went on as though outlined by an invisible clear plan”.
At the end of her life, being in a critical condition after a cerebral haemorrhage, she was still encouraging the visitors by gesturing and smiling to the sounds of the anthem «Gloria», while most of them could not refrain from tears, realizing that her last day was approaching.
Sister Radoslava passed away to the Lord on November 30, 2007, on the feast of St. Andrew the First-called Apostle, at the age of eighty-two. Two hours before her death she received her last Holy Eucharist that was brought by the priest. Dressed in a white Dominican habit, after the funeral she was buried near her relatives at the Berkovtsi cemetery in Kyiv. Many of those who were close to Sister Radoslava believe that her soul abides in God.
Each Province/Vicariate is invited to share their stories and/or pictures with a next Province/Vicariate, if possible with a meeting. That Province/Vicariate invites the next Province/Vicariate, etc. For the Chain there is a route with a time table, which can be used. If every Province/Vicariate also sends their stories and pictures to the ECLDF website, we will create, in this way, a real chain of preachers of hope throughout Europe until the next Assembly October 2017 in Fatima.
Here you will find the announcement of the Chain and also an overview of all the contributions.