30th anniversary of the journal Nasha Doroha (1999)

This year of 1999, UCWLC members celebrate two jubilee dates in the life and work of our organization, namely, 55 years since the founding of the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada and 30 years of publication of the magazine Nasha Doroha, the press organ of our organization.

In fulfilment of a resolution of the IX UCWLC Congress in 1968, the National Executive, which by virtue of rotation was located in Toronto, began its intensive work on a project to commence, in the 25th anniversary year of the organization, the publication of an official press organ of the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada. To this end, the National Executive President, Irena Malycky, travelled to the larger branches: Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Saskatoon, which were hosting Eparchial Conferences in 1969, taking the opportunity to discuss in detail various aspects of printing, content, format, financing, and naming of our publication. After lengthy deliberation it was decided: to publish the magazine as a quarterly in the Ukrainian language, except for a few articles in English for those members who could not read Ukrainian.

The objective of the magazine would be: to preserve, strengthen, and disseminate the ideology of the UCWLC in our society; to unite UCWLC members across Canada, and to increase among the members a feeling of unity in their dedication to common goals and shared responsibility for the future of our Ukrainian Catholic Church and Ukrainian society in this, our new homeland. The magazine should facilitate the dissemination of community work, preserving the goals and prestige of the organization. A name was selected for the publication, in two languages (“Наша дорога”, Nasha Doroha).

The first issue of the UCWL magazine in Canada came out in print in January 1970. The National UCWLC Executive requested Anna Maria Baran of Saskatoon to take on the duties of editor. Other members of the Editorial Board included: Irena Malycky (National President), Vera Buczynsky (Winnipeg), Luba Luckyj and Yaroslawa Wynnycky (Toronto), Dr. Stefania Potocky (Yorkton),  and Katherine Petecky (Edmonton); on the administrative side were Eugenia Sawka, Yaroslawa Sheremeta, Maria Slobodian, and Yaroslawa Kunanec. Copy editing was done by I.V. Manastyrsky, MA. The subscription fee was established at $2.50 per year, or $0.75 per issue. The magazine was printed at the publishing house of the Basilian Fathers Press in Toronto. In the first two years, eight issues of the magazine were published, 48 pages each, with interesting content and pleasing artistic illustrations.

In its first two years of publication Nasha Doroha did not accumulate enough subscribers to keep afloat financially. During the X UCWLC Congress in Toronto in July 1971, the books revealed a sizable debt connected to the publishing of the magazine. The debt was divided among the four Eparchial Executives, which were obliged to cover all expenditures by the end of the year, because there was one more issue to be printed in Toronto. Thereafter, starting in 1972, the entire operation of the publication would be transferred to the Saskatoon Eparchy, according to the established rotation; to be more exact, the production process would be moving to Yorkton, where the Redemptorist Fathers Press was located.

During the term of the National Executive in Saskatoon, Nasha Doroha was published irregularly as a bulletin, without an editor. In 1972 there were two issues, 8 pages each; in 1973 there were three issues, 16 pages each; and in 1974 there were also three issues printed between January and June. During this time, the publication’s shepherds were Holos spasytelia editor Fr. Michael Schudlo, National UCWLC President Stefania Potocky, Valeria Ratushniak (administration), and Sophia Feschuk (National Executive treasurer). After the Congress in Saskatoon, in July 1974 the editorship of the magazine was taken over by Vera Buczynsky of Winnipeg, who had been elected National UCWLC President for a three-year term, with headquarters in Winnipeg. The Redemptorist Fathers Press agreed to print two more issues for the months of September–October and November–December, on the condition that the content would be supplied by the newly elected editor. And that is what happened.

The newly elected National Executive, under the leadership of President (and Editor) Vera Buczynsky, made it a priority to revive the organization’s press organ. As of 1975, Nasha Doroha again became a quarterly, increasing its page count to 24 and adding a colour front cover. From July 1974 to July–September 1977 thirteen issues of the magazine were published, the last one (for the Congress) containing 32 pages. At the very start of her term, the National President (and Editor) developed an editorial policy towards developing the publication; it was unanimously endorsed and implemented by the Executive. The most important aspect was that all the work carried out for the publication was to be voluntary, without remuneration. Each member of the UCWLC should have the magazine, therefore it was decided to include the subscription cost in the membership dues. To ensure its financial security in future, the need was recognized to establish a Reserve Fund for the magazine, to which all branches should submit annual contributions, in proportion to their membership. The National Executive worked intensively according to the plan, which was subsequently fully adopted by resolutions of the XII UCWLC Congress in Winnipeg and then implemented in the life of the organization. Member dues were increased to $5.00 annually as of January 1978, and the reserve fund was expanded, as well.

It must be emphasized that all members of the National Executive in Winnipeg worked for three years generously, devotedly, and intensively for the sake of Nasha Doroha, and in this way they built the strong foundations of our magazine that have since allowed our press organ to grow, stabilize, and flourish. For those three years, the magazine was printed in Winnipeg at the publishing house of the weekly Postup. With the rotation of the National Executive to Edmonton, the printing of our quarterly was transferred to the weekly newspaper Ukrainian News in Edmonton. It was administered by National President Lena Sloboda, treasurer Natalka Yanitski, and Michalina Wojtkow, who was replaced after one year by Michalina Malko as liaison between the publisher and editor Vera Buczynsky, still in Winnipeg. Malko was the technical editor, and along with Anna Misouri was in charge of packing and distribution in 1978–80.

When the National Executive moved in 1980 to Toronto, the magazine returned to the Basilian Fathers Press and has continued to be printed there till the present day. The editor’s position has also remained unchanged for 25 years, in Vera Buczynsky’s tireless hands. Because she lives in Winnipeg, there are people in Toronto who have collaborated with her, including Marta Chomyn (National Executive PR person and technical editor in 1980–4), Yaroslawa Kunanec (liaison between editor and publisher, as well as in charge of distribution), and Yaroslawa Sheremeta (bookkeeping). Members of the Toronto branch have voluntarily taken care of the packing for 19 years, under the leadership of Yaroslava Kunanec, Irena Malycky (till August 1990), and Anna Turecki for the 9 years since then. Here we would be remiss not to mention Mrs. Kunanec, who has served Nasha Doroha in so many ways, from printing to administration but above all in distribution: packing the issues, preparing the packing lists, making arrangements with the Post Office, and (since 1989) copy-editing the English sections of the magazine.

In 1983 the length of the publication was increased to 28 pages, and in 1990 to 32 pages; since 1994 the magazine has had 36 pages, of which 11 are in English. It is published exactly four times per year, in the first month of each quarter, with a press run of 6,500. To economize on postage, the magazine is shipped in bulk to the branches across Canada, or to representatives who distribute individual copies locally. The content of the publication is educational and informational, including articles on topics of religion, traditions, patriotism, history, education, society, and organizational issues. Thematically the magazine strives to combine the moral and the spiritual, the patriotic with the historical, the religious with the traditional as aspects of the culture of the Ukrainian people.

As the press organ of the UCWLC, Nasha Doroha clearly reflects the ideological foundations of our organization, our strivings and efforts in various spheres of Ukrainian community life, and the work of our branches, eparchies, and leading individual members. A significant portion of our quarterly is devoted to organizational topics and to reports from eparchial and regional conferences, National Congresses, Congress resolutions, Plenary Meetings of the UCWLC National Executive, and articles and reports about the work of our branches. The magazine also publishes news, appeals, and notices from the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations (SFUZhO), World Congress of Free Ukrainians (SKVU), and Ukrainian Canadian Congress, as well as interesting reports on the work and achievements of the Sheptytsky Institute of Oriental Christian Studies in Ottawa. Article topics are selected to mark important dates and events of our times, or distinguished historical figures in the women’s movement and cultural dates, as well as important figures and spiritual leaders of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Various kinds of anniversaries are also noted; and tributes to the dearly departed are printed.

Since 1980 distribution of the magazine has been under the purview of the Toronto Eparchy Executive, whose representative assigns the tasks of dissemination to volunteer members of the Toronto UCWLC branch. They assemble packages of magazines and send them to contact members at the branches, thus saving on mailing costs. Meanwhile, administrative matters are handled by successive treasurers in the National Executive, who systematically rotate every three years. Thus, in the past 30 years Nasha Doroha administration has been taken care of by Phyllis Tracz, Zenowia Lewandowsky, and Orysia Chroniak of Winnipeg; Natalka Yanitski and Shirley Rudnicki of Edmonton; Yaroslawa Sheremeta of Toronto; Emilia Panamaroff and Patricia Detz of Saskatoon; and Anna Korpan of New Westminster.

UCWLC members generally value their organization’s organ, the quarterly Nasha Doroha, for its role in connecting us all in one strong Christian Ukrainian family across Canada. Members support their magazine both morally and financially, and whenever possible supplement its content with articles, essays, poetry, reports from the work of their branches, and events in the life of the organization. Everyone deserves a sincere thank-you for their cooperation throughout the years. Particular recognition and gratitude are due our Spiritual Fathers, who have enriched our organization’s official publication with their works, thus assisting us in perfecting our organizational mandate. Now on the threshold of the Third Millennium, our desire is for Nasha Doroha to continue in future to hold on to the unchanging and principled ideological tenets of the Ukrainian Catholic Women’s League of Canada. In reaching for the summit of success, “following the spirit of our times,” let us not forget our mission: the promotion and consolidation of the Ukrainian Catholic Church throughout the world. May God help us!

by Vera Buczynsky, editor, Nasha Doroha, 1999, No. 4 (Oct–Dec)