Friday, July 22, 2016

Mariapoch Pilgrimage & Teen Campout, Aug. 13-14

Join us Aug. 13-14, 2016, for the annual Eparchy of Parma pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch in Burton, Ohio, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the dedication of the shrine.  All are invited for a weekend of prayer and fellowship in honor of, and in supplication to, the Mother of God.  In celebration of the Year of Mercy, this year’s theme is, “Open Unto us the Doors of Mercy, O Blessed Theotokos.”  Come during the day or camp out overnight.  The weekend will culminate with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy celebrated by Bishop John on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.  This year’s speaker is Fr. Boniface Hicks, OSB, from St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pa.  For the full schedule and other information, click on the poster to the right, or visit  With questions, please contact Deacon Bill Fredrick at or 216-469-1425.

Teens: Teens wishing to participate in the chaperoned campout program must submit a release form and payment by July 29.  Click here to register.  With questions about the teen program, please contact the nuns of Christ the Bridegroom Monastery at or 440-834-0290.

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 3rd radio appearance

Fr. David Bline and Fr. Louis Thomas, of St. Francis de Sales parish in Akron, Ohio, invited Mother Cecilia and Mother Gabriella to join them on The Mercy Show on WAKR (a secular Akron station) for the July 3rd episode of the priests' weekly half-hour program. The topics on which they reflected included religious liberty, spiritual motherhood/fatherhood, and monastic life. Visit this link to listen!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Girls' Camp Graces & Photos

Our 7th annual Girls' Camp was again a beautiful, grace-filled experience for the teen-girl participants and for us. We celebrated the Year of Mercy with our theme from Psalm 118: "His Mercy Endures Forever." A record number of girls (25) joined us June 23-26, to camp out on our property, pray many of the daily liturgical services with us, listen to talks on mercy and the vocations of marriage, single life and monastic life, participate in other activities, and experience God's mercy in a profound way through the Mystery of Holy Repentance (Confession).

The camp is an event sponsored by the Eparchy of Parma Office of Vocations and run by our monastery with the help of some young adult facilitators and two hard-working volunteer cooks!

Almost all of the girls named Confession as their favorite part of the weekend. One participant commented, "I also really enjoyed the talks because it was so amazing to hear how Christ worked in the lives of others."

The camp culminated with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy celebrated by Bishop John Kudrick at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch (across the street from the monastery), at which the Boys' Camp participants and the families of the campers from both camps joined together. The Liturgy was followed by a lunch and awards program.

View more photos here

Here are a few other graces the girls shared with us and are willing to share with you:

"It has definitely brought me closer to God and Mary and all of the saints" (Cassidy Glasier).

"It really opened me up to Christ's mercy like I have never been opened before" (Veronica Perts).

"I grew so much in Jesus Christ this weekend: seeing His presence in everyone and even allowing my heart to be opened to Him and listening to what He has to say" (Macrina Bagay).

"I now love God more than before" (Hannah Olt).

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Thank you!

We would like to give a big thank-you to the priests and seminarians who coordinated a work day for us recently and worked incredibly hard to cut down some huge, dead trees on our property and cut them into firewood. They also began the construction of a platform behind the shed for our trailer.  We also had a blast helping and feeding the guys! Here are some additional photos from the day.

Another big, belated thank-you is due to Mother Gabriella's parents Rick Houck & Cathy McArdle for the gift of our shed, which has been so helpful with storing outdoor equipment!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Vocations blessed by ‘fatherly love’

Bishop John entrusting Sr. Iliana to Mother Theodora, September 2015
The first time I read St. John Paul II’s apostolic letter “Orientale Lumen” (“Light of the East”), I was intrigued by the thought of monasticism “flourishing once more in the Eastern Churches” and thought, “That sounds really cool, but how’s that ever going to happen?”

Little did I know that, years later, I would meet a bishop who saw this need and had the courage and vision to make it reality.

Bishop John Kudrick publicized his vision of monasticism for the Eparchy of Parma in 2008.

At that time, I was already in dialogue with him and was seriously discerning monasticism. To be honest, the thought of it “freaked me out” at times, but I distinctly remember the peace and the confident “yes” when I read his document.

His vision was firmly grounded in “Light of the East,” which devoted considerable attention to monasticism as a necessary “reference point for all the baptized” and as the “very soul of the…church.”

From the beginning of Christ the Bridegroom Monastery, Bishop John has been our spiritual father and he has shared with us his love of God and prayer, truly incarnating his desire to teach God’s children how to pray and to experience the peaceful and life-giving presence of God within.

Each of us at the monastery is grateful to have been blessed with his fatherly love:

“Bishop John’s ‘yes’ to the Holy Spirit’s inspiration for this monastery gave me the ability to say my ‘yes’ to the incredible gift of my monastic vocation. Through Bishop John’s example, he has also helped me to learn how to pray and to seek God in gentleness and simplicity.”
  — Mother Cecilia

“Bishop John’s love of prayer drew me and so many others into the heart of the Byzantine Church. I attribute the beginning of my love for our liturgical prayer to evenings spent at Bishop John’s residence, praying Vespers with other young adults. I am so grateful for the seeds planted during those years, which have blossomed into the monastic vocation I am blessed to live today.”
— Mother Gabriella

“Bishop John is a witness of humility and faith and a manifestation of the Father’s love.”
   — Sister Emilia

“It amazes me when I consider that without Bishop John’s prayerful vision and his courage to start a women’s monastery, I would not be able to live out my vocation today. For this I will always be grateful.”
      — Sister Iliana

“I’ve known Bishop John for such a short time, yet he welcomed me into his flock with the gentle love of Christ. He is one of the most sincere men I have ever known.”
— Victoria

Through God’s grace, we pray that monasticism will continue to flourish in the Eastern Churches.

--Mother Theodora (originally published in Horizons, the newspaper of the Eparchy of Parma)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Girls' Camp Registration is now FULL!

Thank you to all the teen girls who registered for the 2016 Eparchy of Parma's Girls' Camp!  We have reached our registration maximum!  If any girls are still interested in coming, please email us at or call us at 440-834-0290 to be placed on a waiting list if any spots become available.  Looking forward to seeing everyone in a few weeks!
What?!  It's already full?  Oh no!

Monday, May 23, 2016

God be with you, Jacqui!

Jacqui McNeill (formerly known as Sister Emilia) has decided to leave the monastery in order to have the opportunity to discern the possibility of marriage.  Her decision has brought her peace of heart and mind and we share in her peace as well.  Please join us in offering loving prayer and support to Jacqui as she continues to discern God’s will in her life. God bless you, Jacqui!

“I want to thank all the family and friends of the monastery for their love and prayerful support in my discernment. As I continue to ask God to lead me, I ask for your continued prayers. 
Know you continue to be held close in prayer.”