Memory Eternal

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Our beloved Sister, Svetlana “Lena” Wronski fell asleep in the Lord, leaving us honouring her memory and weeping for our loss. May our merciful Lord gaint her eternal rest in His Kingdom and comfort our hearts in our deep sorrow.

Svetlana was one of the oldest parishioners of Christ the Saviour Cathedral, she passed away peacefully at age 93 on April 17th, 2020 at Toronto Western Hospital. She contracted COVID in her retirement home and tested positive on Tuesday when brought to the hospital.

Svetlana “Lena” Wronski was buried April 22d at York Cemetery at noon. Memorial service was served by Archpriest Ioann Shandra.

Her brif BIO from Facebook page write by Svetlana’s son – Peter Vronsky.

“My mother Lena was born in Belgrade Yugoslavia in 1926, the daughter of Russian refugees from the revolution. My grandfather was a jazz musician and my grandmother a homemaker. They were all three stateless.

In April 1941 when my mother was fifteen in high school, Nazi Germany suddenly invaded Yugoslavia and my mother’s life changed overnight. The Nazis routinely hung Serbs in Belgrade from lampposts and balconies and cut the population from food. By 1942 my mother and my grandparents were starving.
In 1943 they volunteered to go to Berlin, the dark heart of the Third Reich as ‘voluntary “guest” laborers’ – my mother and grandmother as workers in a German munitions factory and my grandfather as a musician for Nazi Germany’s version of the USO.

They survived the strategic bombing of Berlin 1943-1945. In 1944 my mother was in an office building when an air raid occurred. She took shelter in the basement and when the building took a direct hit from a bomb she survived 18 hours buried in the basement before she was dug out and rescued.

My mum was a moving-target survivor-subscriber and managed to get permits for her and her parents to leave Berlin in January 1945 just as the Red Army was preparing to close the circle around Berlin in preparation for its annihilation. Some 100,000 died in Battle of Berlin but my mother succeeded in getting herself and my grandparents to the mineral baths resort city of Carlsbad in Czechoslovakia.

They lived in Carlsbad until 1948 when the Russians seized control of Czechoslovakia. As Russian refugees my grandparents and mother would have been arrested by the Russians and sent to the Soviet Union, even though my mother was born in Yugoslavia.

Once again, my mother managed to arrange for them to escape Czechoslovakia back into now-occupied British zone of Germany from where they made their way into a displaced persons (DP) refugee camp in Bagnoli – Naples, Italy, where they lived now from 1948 to 1952.

In Italy my mother worked in the refugee camp as a typist translator and appeared as an extra in a number of Italian movies shot between 1948 – 1952.

In 1952 they were issued a visa to immigrate to Canada as refugees. When my mother and grandparents arrived in Toronto my mother already spoke six languages (Serbian, Croatian, German, Czech, Slovak and Italian) and set out to learn her seventh – English.

She met my father Boris in Toronto – also a refugee from the war with his family – and they married in 1954 and I was born in 1956.

In 1959 when my Mom was 33, after being stateless since birth, she received Canadian citizenship. She is what the story of Canada is supposed to be about.

My mother eventually went to work for the Bank of Montreal where she worked until her retirement in 1991. My father passed away in 1997.

My mother lived independently until the age of 91 in a condo on Bloor and Christie, a few blocks away from the church that first sponsored her to come to Canada – the Russian Orthodox Church of Grand Duchess Olga on Manning Avenue and Follis.

She shopped for herself in the Korean supermarkets in the neighborhood and in Fiesta Farms on Christie.

About two years ago her mobility began to decline and she moved into the New Horizons Retirement home on Dufferin and Bloor. She continued to walk the blocks between Lansdowne and Dufferin but in April 2019 her health and mobility took a further turn for the worst.

About ten days ago she slipped and twisted her back in her room at the home and apparently it caused a small but painful fracture. When the pain did not ease or go away and she also began to feel extra weak and slightly confused, she asked to be transported to a hospital on Tuesday morning.

On check-in, she was diagnosed with the small fracture but also with a full-blown case of COVID-19, despite the fact that she showed no symptoms: no fluids in her lungs or fever.

However, her kidneys had shut down which was causing her apparent weakness, in addition to the pain of the back injury.

On reflection, realizing that the fracture was going to result in her not being able to walk again and be bed-ridden for what remained of her life, my mother requested that she not be given any emergency intervention for her kidney shut-down. She was ready to make her next and last move.

I spoke with her on the phone on Wednesday at noon. She was resolute in her decision, looking forward to the journey to the next world, we said our goodbyes, she was mostly aware and in control.

She asked me what day and date it was exactly, I told her it was Wednesday April 15. She asked when was my father’s birthday and I told her it was Friday, April 17.

She went to sleep after our conversation and remained mostly sleeping in no pain or distress until she died peacefully on Friday April 17, my dad’s birthday, as I suspect she intended to.

I am grateful that the COVID did not get into her lungs and that she breathed freely all the way out to her new destination.

She leaves behind two granddaughters, Alisa and Quantel.

My mum died on her own terms, in her own time. with no regrets. She was 93. We will all miss her.”

Memory Eternal!