Thursday, August 15, 2019

A little and great feast

A reflection by Mother Cecilia for the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God

Many of Mary's feasts are about her littleness, but to me, her Dormition is about her littleness in the most profound way. Her death--her last and complete surrender to the Father--seems like it would be utterly fruitless, just like our daily and final deaths. What could come of such emptying, such removal from life, such removal from others?

When Mary's tomb was opened, it was full of flowers--full of life and beauty. When there is "nothing" left of us, when we are totally drained, exhausted, weak, and we surrender ourselves into God's hands, we become vases of the most exquisite flowers--vessels of the Holy Spirit--the perfume of which is wafted abroad (Song of Songs 4:16). We, then, have no more control over our lives, but we who cannot make flowers grow, become a delightful garden.

This feast, which in my eyes is the Marian feast that is most profoundly about Mary's littleness, in the Church's eyes is the greatest Marian feast, and there is no contradiction between the two!

"Though you have been taken up from earth into the heavens, O Virgin, yet all the earth rejoices with you and glorifies your repose. Though your incorrupt body has been enclosed in the heavens, O Virgin, yet your grace pours forth and fills all the face of the earth" (Second Station of the Burial Service for the Dormition).

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

"Clothed once again most brilliantly"

It is a tradition to bless fruit (the "first fruits" of the harvest) on this feast.
Happy Feast of the Transfiguration!

There is so much to reflect upon for this feast. Here is one beautiful thought from St. Gregory Palamas:
"Through the fall, our nature was stripped of divine illumination and resplendence. But the Logos of God had pity upon our disfigurement and in His compassion He took our nature upon Himself, and on Tabor He manifested it to His elect disciples clothed once again most brilliantly. He shows what we once were and what we shall become through Him in the age to come, if we choose to live our present life as far as possible in accordance with His ways."

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Registration open for the Bridegroom's Banquet!

You’re invited to the “Bridegroom’s Banquet,” a benefit dinner for the nuns of Christ the Bridegroom Monastery, on Saturday, October 19, at St. Joseph Byzantine Catholic Church in Brecksville, Ohio. We will be celebrating our 10th anniversary!

There is no cost to attend the dinner, but registration is required (by October 7). Adults 21 and older may attend. Enjoy a buffet dinner, entertainment and an evening with us and our guests. Learn more about us, our life of prayer and hospitality, and specifically this year: about spiritual motherhood. Donations given at the event (or designated ahead of time), up to a total of $100,000, will be doubled by a matching donor!!!

Register now using this form. The schedule and more information, including how to donate if you are unable to attend, can be found at our Bridegroom's Banquet page. We hope to enjoy the evening with you on October 19!

About this year's entertainment
Mark Cook has been performing magic since the age of nine. For Mark, the performance of magic is his unique expression of the Joy of the Gospel.

A student of acting, he has performed at amusement parks, private parties, camps, and retreats. He is the 1st place winner of both the International Battle of Magicians Close-up Competition and the Florida Close-up Competition. Self-taught, he incorporates the sleights and techniques he has learned from many experts in the fields of close-up and stage magic.

The magic he performs is meticulously chosen for the feelings of impossibility and astonishment the pieces create. His performances attempt to present the true, good, and beautiful in an artistic and meaningful way through wit and drama. Mark's purpose of every show, therefore, is to give audiences a feeling of wonder and awe and enable them to attribute these experiences ultimately to God.

Mark has served for 2 years as a Marian Missionary of Divine Mercy, under the direction of Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC in Stockbridge, MA near the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy. He is currently earning a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Discernment Retreat, Sept. 20-22

Single Catholic women, ages 18-35, who would like to take a weekend to pray about a possible vocation to the monastic life, are invited to inquire about attending the upcoming discernment retreat at Christ the Bridegroom Monastery, Sept. 20-22. Experience the life of prayer at the monastery, listen to talks on prayer and discernment, make use of the opportunity to get to know the nuns, and receive healing through the Mystery of Holy Repentance (Confession). If you are interested in this retreat, or a future discernment opportunity, fill out the online Vocation Inquiry Form. Please fill out the form by Sept. 6 for this retreat. Space is limited. Mother Theodora will call you to talk about availability. With questions, call 440-834-0290 or email See the retreat brochure for the schedule and more information.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Join us for the Mariapoch Pilgrimage, Aug. 17-18

The Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch (across the street from the monastery), will host the annual eparchial pilgrimage Aug. 17-18. Bishop Milan will give the evening teen and family talk around the campfire Aug. 17. He will also celebrate the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday at 4 p.m. Well-known Catholic radio and television show host Dr. Ray Guarendi will give the keynote on the theme, "Laughter: The Sanity of Family." Here is a link to the full schedule.

We are cantoring many of the liturgical services and are coordinating the teen events and children's activity. We hope you can join us!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Mother Theodora on EWTN Live!

Mother Theodora was Fr. Mitch Pacwa's guest on Wednesday, July 10, on his show EWTN Live. She spoke about her call to monastic life, the icon of Christ the Bridegroom, the Jesus Prayer, the life of prayer and hospitality of our monastery, and more. To watch the show, visit this link and then click on the box that says " 2019-07-11 - 07/10/19 Mother Theodora." Enjoy!

Monday, July 8, 2019

10th Anniversary Issue of Pomegranate Blossoms

Enjoy our extra-long, special 10th anniversary issue of our newsletter, Pomegranate Blossoms! 

This issue includes:

  • Our history and old photos
  • An interview with Mother Theodora and Mother Cecilia
  • Memories from the other nuns
  • A reflection and photos from Mother Iliana's Life Profession
  • And more...

We hope you enjoy it! Thanks for all your prayers and support during these 10 years!