Once a Polish villate, Yasnishchi now resides in Ukraine. It was located some 20 miles (32 km) South East from a county city of Brody, and roughly 6 miles (10 km) from the mail office in Pidkamin. North from Yasnishchi there was the villages Palykorovy and Kutyshche. To the East lie the villages of Seredec and Podberezce; and to the West is Verbivchyk. The eastern border was marked by a brook which, flowing southward, formed a flood plain used as a fishing pond. It connected to the Seret River past the village.

According to a census in the second half of the 19th century, Yasnishchi counted 409 inhabitants in 1880. It was a small common village without even a church. Catholics barely consisted of 25% of the village population (only 102 people). These villagers had to attend services in Pidkamin, some 8 kilometers away. This Dominican run parish territorially belonged to Galicia, a historic part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Canonically, it belonged to the Archdiocese of Lviv. Pidkamin prided itself of having a school, which was not usual for the Galician province. Children were taught reading and writing on days free from ordinary labors. At the time, peasants had to work in the fields as serfs or, on fewer occasions, as owners.

In Yasnishchi, as in many other villages, there was a county mansion, housing some 46 inhabitants. It was not a palace, but rather a manor of affluent land owners Francis and Ann Ernestine Bialecki, the parents of Mother Columba Bialecka.

Yasnishchi Today

Today Yasnishchi is a tiny village of some 50 households. It is administratively incorporated into the larger Palykorovy. Its population makes a living cultivating small ‘paje’, that is, government settlements after the dissolution of kolkhoz. Over a dozen years ago, this State Agricultural Farm ran a house of culture, a library, and a school. Today these buildings are desolate and unusable. The local youth head to larger cities in search of a better future and opportunities.

On land formerly owned by the Bialeckis the Dominican Sisters founded a grotto with a statue of the Immaculate to commemorate the birthplace of their Mother Foundress. Proud of their kinsman, the entire village immediately assisted in its construction. Additionally, inhabitants tend the grotto daily, providing fresh flowers regularly. On their way to the city or fields to work, they stop to offer a prayer. On Sundays, they gather as a village to pray the rosary, and in the evening throughout the month of May, they sing the Litany of Loreto. It is by the grotto where they implore the intercession of Servant of God Mother Columba Bialecka. The unwavering conviction accompanies the locals that indeed they have special intercessor who diligently protects them from any misfortune and who unceasingly implores God’s singular blessing upon the village.