Monday, October 19, 2020

Day of Prayer and Fasting for Priests, Oct. 23

In gratitude for the gift of the priesthood and for all the suffering that priests endure for us, let's increase our prayer and fasting for them! The Evil One launches frequent, powerful attacks upon our priests because they are the visible witnesses and leaders for us, called to draw us to God and to provide for us with the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments). The Devil knows that if they are led away from God's will, the rest of the Body of Christ will fall more easily too. We need to pray and fast for them, supporting them in their struggles to resist these attacks of the Evil One and to grow in holiness. 

Join us for a day of prayer and fasting for priests this Friday, October 23, the feast of St. James the Brother of Our Lord and First Bishop of Jerusalem. The event is organized by AM 1260 The Rock (the Catholic radio station in the Cleveland area). Our chapel is one of the participating locations of prayer. You are welcome to pray in our chapel at any time throughout the day and/or join us for any of our services today (listed below). We also encourage you to join us in praying and fasting at home and at work throughout the day, as well as in the future! In our monastery, we especially pray and fast for priests on Wednesdays and Fridays (as well as for other members of the clergy and those in formation). 

Friday, October 23

Chapel open all day for prayer

Noon: Roman Catholic Mass followed by our prayer for priests (we pray this prayer and read aloud the names of hundreds of clergy and seminarians every Wed. & Fri.)

4:45 p.m.: The Jesus Prayer in silence

5:00 p.m.: Vespers (Evening Prayer)

9:00 p.m.: Compline (Night Prayer)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Chapel waterproofing project complete

We are so grateful for all of the support that made this big project possible! Last month, the entire perimeter of the exterior walls of chapel basement was waterproofed, as well as the connected guest house/poustinia (St. Photina), and the land in front of the chapel was graded for proper water drainage. Here is a link to some photos. The buildings are much drier! Now we can remove the mold in the basement and continue planning the interior renovations of the chapel! 

The project was largely funded by donations from last year's Bridegroom's Banquet, our annual benefit event. Please help us to make our next project (the interior renovations) a reality by participating in our Virtual Bridegroom's Banquet, Nov. 7! This is a great opportunity for your donation to be doubled! Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support. May everything glorify God!

Monday, October 12, 2020

Mother Gabriella to speak at Cleveland Catholic Women's Conference


Mother Gabriella is one of three speakers at the Cleveland Catholic Women's Conference this Saturday, October 17. The conference is a live-streamed online event that includes Mass celebrated by the new bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland, talks, interactive small group discussions, and praise & worship. The talks will be available to all who register, even after the day of the event. 

Also, Mother Gabriella was recently interviewed by Brooke Taylor for her podcast, "The Brooke Taylor Show." The interview aired last week on AM 1260 The Rock in the Cleveland area. Anyone can listen to the interview here!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Registration now open for our Virtual Bridegroom's Banquet, Nov. 7!

Dear friends,

Given the craziness of this year, it can bring a bit of serenity to know that some things are continuing ahead like they do every year – though with the typical COVID twist! We are glad to announce that even though we cannot meet in person, we are planning to make our annual Bridegroom’s Banquet a virtual event. We are very sad not to be with you and hug you! But we are with you in spirit, praying for you and holding you in our hearts. Despite the change, we are working hard to maintain many of the same aspects from previous years. The banquet will be held on Nov. 7 as a finale to a week of special virtual activities for everyone on our Facebook page. We invite you to join us as we live-stream Vespers (Evening Prayer) from our chapel and continue the evening with a prerecorded virtual program, including this year’s video, about spiritual fatherhood. We encourage everyone to register beforehand for the event. Everyone who registers before Oct. 25 will receive a small gift from us in the mail, and every 20th person who registers will receive an additional gift from us! Also, everyone who registers will be remembered once a month during Divine Liturgy at the monastery for the coming year. 

The event is absolutely free to all who participate, but we encourage each person to seek to understand what God may desire for him or her to give for the benefit of all those who experience the Bridegroom through our ministry at the monastery.

We continue to be blessed with a matching funds opportunity so that each person’s donation will be doubled, up to a total of $100,000! Those who are unable to attend can still make a donation that will be doubled. Please visit the event page for more information and to register.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support! Know of our frequent prayers for you! 

In the love of the Bridegroom,

Your Nuns
Christ the Bridegroom Monastery

Monday, September 7, 2020

52-mile Bicycle Pilgrimage

Last week, Fr. David Stavarz, parochial vicar at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Concord Township, Ohio, made a 52-mile round trip pilgrimage to the monastery with his bicycle to pick up and bring home the icon he commissioned. The icon he requested was Padre Pio, the name he chose as his "priesthood name" which he added on to his name at his ordination to the priesthood last year in June.

Fr. David joined us for 6th Hour in the chapel at noon, lunch, and some conversation before wrapping up his icon carefully in a towel and heading back to his church, carrying the icon in his backpack. Fr. David said he looks forward to growing in his relationship with Padre Pio through this icon. May God bless him and his ministry!

Correction from original post: The original post said that the icon was by the hand of Mother Iliana, but the icon was actually by the hand of Mother Pelahia, a nun from Ukraine who was living with us for several months. Please forgive me (Mother Cecilia)--I wasn't here when it was painted and I got confused!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Rest in Your Heart's Foundation

Are you feeling a bit lost, uprooted, unsettled or divided lately? Take a minute to read (and then pray about) this reflection from the book, "This is the Day the Lord Has Made: 365 Daily Meditations," by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D. (Aug. 17 meditation):

Rest in Your Heart's Foundation

"The depth of the human heart can't be measured. Its very nature is infinite, as it is rooted in the infinity of God. Your life has full meaning only if you try to discover the depth of your heart, the center of your being.

Ephraim the Syrian (306-373) says that when God created us, he put all of heaven in the depths of our hearts. Our task is to dig sufficiently deep to discover the hidden treasure we carry.

God can only be found if you search for the secret room in the depths of your being. If you dig deep into yourself, you will find the gate to the reign of God, and God Himself will stand at the gate and wait for you. The best way to dig is by daily reserving time for interior prayer.

When you have finally found your heart, you need to try to remain in it, live in it. This is not easy. The various tasks in life often force us to live with our attention far from our heart. But if you are rooted in your center, it doesn't need to be divisive to use the mind and the attention to do what the tasks of the day demand. Your heart is the foundation upon which all of your interior and exterior abilities rest, and, in the midst of all these external preoccupations, your heart can be rooted in God's infinity and silence."

Friday, August 14, 2020

Happy Feast of the Dormition!

Happy Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God! The Divine Liturgy propers from the Metropolitan Cantor Institute share the following tradition about this feast: 

"Tradition relates that the Mother of God died in Jerusalem, after a visit with all of Christ’s apostles. They carried her coffin to the Garden of Gethsemane where it was placed into a tomb. The apostle Thomas came late, and asked that the tomb might be opened so that he could reverence her body. When opened, the tomb was found empty except for the winding sheet."

Mother Cecilia wrote the following poem on her recent 30-day retreat, and would like to share it with you for this feast. Enjoy!


July 3, 2020 – Roman Catholic feast of the Apostle Thomas



perhaps it wasn’t your fault

that Jesus came that evening you were away,

stepping through the locked door,

making tremble the hearts of the apostles

as He pierced them with His Holy Spirit

and peace.



you traveled the farthest

of any of these apostles,

having been expanded by doubt and longing,

seeing and touching fire;

your humiliation compelled you

to love.



what grief did you feel

when you arrived late for our Mother’s Dormition?

The angels flew each apostle to her side,

yet you alone they carried slowly.

It was your tears that opened for us her empty tomb

and our hope.