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!


Thomas

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

 

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.

 

Thomas,

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.

 

Thomas,

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.


Sunday, August 9, 2020

Poem for the Feast of the Apostle Matthias

Sometimes in the Byzantine Tradition we celebrate many things at once. It makes setting up for the services rather complicated, because the liturgical typikon (instruction manual for the daily liturgical services) prescribes that we pray particular sections of the texts for each of the things we are celebrating, but it is a joy to celebrate them all! Today is the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, so we celebrate the Resurrection with joy as we do every Sunday, and it falls during the post-festive period of the Transfiguration, so we continue to celebrate this great feast, and it is the feast of the Apostle Matthias! In honor of St. Matthias, here is a poem written by Sr. Natalia. Enjoy!


Fear of Being Chosen


O Matthias, what did you think,

what did you feel,

when you were beckoned forward?

Did your heart race at the idea

of joining ranks with those eleven?

Eleven different types of broken,

all seeking to be whole.

Did you fear the possibility

of secret brokenness revealed?


And did you also feel

the thrill of sure adventure,

after having seen the ups and downs

of the men whose eyes were now on you?

You’d seen their pain, their dying,

and in your heart felt a pull.

One thing you must have known,

known without a doubt:

being witness to the resurrection

would mean a life of miracles.


And when you heard your name called out,

and reality sunk in,

did you feel that joyful pain of knowing

that all now know that you are His?

Did your thoughts bounce back and forth

between death and resurrection?

And did you steal one more glance

at Joseph Barsabbas

and wonder, “Why not him?”


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Save the Date for the Bridegroom's Banquet

Save the date for our annual benefit dinner, the “Bridegroom’s Banquet,” on Saturday, November 7, at a new location: St. Elias Melkite Catholic Church in Cleveland. There is no cost to attend the dinner, but registration is required (by October 26). Adults 21 and older may attend. Enjoy a buffet dinner, entertainment, and an evening with us and our guests. Learn more about and support our life of prayer and hospitality. Donations given at the event or designated ahead of time will be doubled by matching donors! If an in-person event is not possible, a live online event may be held. More information and registration will be available in August.


Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Father's Day!



Happy Father's Day to all biological and spiritual fathers! Thank you for your fatherly love, in calm times and in crisis. Thank you for your strong and tender care and for being an image of the Father's love for us!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Spring/Summer Newsletter

We hope you enjoy the new issue of our newsletter, Pomegranate Blossoms. This issue shares the fruits of our reflection on the current pandemic situation, in the ways that it has affected the Church and as it has personally affected some of the nuns. We share photos that we received from families who benefited from our "Holy Week and Pascha in the Domestic Church" guide, ideas and resources for praying at home, book recommendations and personal reflections.
 
We hope you'll take some time to read it! God bless you!