In 1998 the Sisters of St. Paul came to Oneşti, which is a large town in the northeast of Romania in the district of Bacau. The Sisters were invited there by the Bishop of Iasi to open a Convent and to build a Gradiniţa (nursery) and Youth Centre to cater for some of the needs of the Catholic children living in the village area of the town. Both projects were built in close proximity to the Parish Church of SS. Peter and Paul.
In the year 2000 the Gradiniţa opened with 45 children (5yr olds) on roll and, as numbers have increased year on year, the Gradiniţa now caters for 4 classes with a total of 103 children, some of whom are Orthodox. One Sister works in the Gradiniţa as a Head teacher and as a teacher. There are eight employees all together – four teachers, a caretaker, a cleaner, a secretary and an accountant.
With the help and support of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Paul the Apostle, in September 2017, The Onesti Association called “With an Open Heart” started the long programme for 55 children who attend the Gradiniţa in the morning. These children have opportunities for sleep, eating and play during the 4 hours of the programme. For this purpose, the Association has employed two part time teachers and a cleaner.
Like the Gradiniţa, the Convent is situated in the village area. Overlooking the convent, is Perchui Hill, on which a huge cross (33metres high) was erected in the year of the millennium, to represent the 33 years of Christ’s life on earth. The cross, which is always lit-up at night, is a constant reminder to the people of Oneşti of Christ’s everlasting presence with his people.
At present there is one Sister in the community of Onesti. As well as ministering to the very young in the Gradiniţa, Sister is involved in various parish activities including home visits, an elderly club, and the work of the S.V.P. (www.ercis.ro).