Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Beginning Continues

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Pasch so delightful, Pasch of the Lord is the Pasch--most honored Pasch now dawned on us. It is the Pasch! Therefore, let us joyfully embrace one another. O Passover, save us from sorrow; for today Christ has shown forth from the tomb as from a bridal chamber and filled the women with joy by saying: "Announce the good news to My Apostles." (From the Paschal Hymns)

We pray that you and your families enjoyed a beautiful Pascha and will continue to rest in the light and joy of the Resurrection! The past few weeks have been very busy for us, but we immersed ourselves in the spirit of Holy Week and the Resurrection as best we could, with the grace of God! During Palm Sunday weekend we hosted a young adult retreat, and during Holy Week several women discerning monastic life joined us for discussion, prayer and to experience our life. We will post pictures soon from these experiences.

Holy Saturday fell this year on April 3, the first anniversary of the day we moved into the monastery! We are so grateful to God for all the blessings (and the challenges!) of this past year, and we look forward to continued growth.

Also, on Monday of Holy Week, Bishop John visited to celebrate Bridegroom Matins and officially commission us to begin this monastery and become part of the Eparchy of Parma! It was especially significant because Bridegroom Matins was the first service we celebrated in our chapel one year ago. The text of this commissioning is below. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to move forward in the development of our monastery.

Bishop: Blessed is our God, now and ever and forever.

Response: Amen.

Bishop: In 2008 I issued a call for the establishment of monasteries to complete the ecclesial activity of the Eparchy of Parma. I identified this property, a gift from Sisters Flora and Adalberta, Sisters of Mariapoch, to be a monastery of nuns. For over a year you have resided here, living a modified monastic life and, with the help of many others, improving the property. From your experience, combined with the shared experience of other monasteries of women, you have formulated a draft typicon to govern the life of nuns in a monastery to be established here at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch in the future. You have expressed a desire to continue this endeavor to its canonical establishment and your full membership. And so I give approval of these first steps to the establishment of the Monastery of Christ the Bridegroom and I ask you

Bishop: Are you aware of the expectations presented in the typicon, that was given initial approval, and are you willing to try to live according to it?

Celeste, Julie: I am.

Bishop: Are you willing to represent the monastery appropriately as you continue formation into the monastic way?

Celeste, Julie: I am.

Bishop: Are you willing to welcome others into the community?

Celeste, Julie: I am.

Bishop: Do you acknowledge that your involvement in this monastery is one of formation and discernment and that, until formal formation begins, you do not have canonical standing as a monastic?

Celeste, Julie: I do.

Bishop: Are you willing to grow in the spiritual life toward a possible full entry into the monastic way?

Celeste, Julie: I am with the help of God.

Bishop: I, as Bishop of Parma, assure you that the eparchy will provide you every support at our disposal. To lay the foundation upon which the monastery will be built, I grant you the following permissions. I give you permission to maintain a private chapel, with the privilege that Divine Liturgy served here will satisfy one’s obligation for Sunday and holy days of obligation. I give you permission to use some of the monastic symbols: you will preface your baptismal name with the title “Sister” and you will wear a common garb whenever representing the monastery.
Although not graced with vows, your living the life of the evangelical virtues will identify you with the monastery and the monastery will be identified as an appropriate means of grace. Because the monastery has no canonical status, all real property and its contents, unless specifically identified, remain the property of the eparchy. By following the typicon you will live a chaste life. To be able to maintain obedience to this way of life, we must identify one person to serve as guardian of the common life, a role satisfied in a monastery by the hegumena or abbess. To that end, are you, Sister Celeste, willing to serve in this role until such time that the monastery will be established and a hegumena identified?

Sister Celeste: I am.

Bishop: May God be blessed by this endeavor and may He bless the monastery with properly motivated nuns and may he bless each of us with proper discernment.

Deacon: Let us pray to the Lord.

Response: Lord, have mercy.

Bishop: Almighty God, creator and fashioner of all, who made Heaven with understanding, and founded the earth on its firmness: Look down on your servants Sister Celeste and Sister Julie, who, together with myself and many others, desire, in the might of Your strength, to raise up a monastery. Establish it on a firm rock, and, according to Your Divine Voice in the Gospel, found it so that neither wind nor water, nor anything whatsoever may be able to harm it. Be well-pleased to bring it to completion and bring those who desire to be members thereof to live lives worthy of Christ the Bridegroom, and to be delivered from the snare of the adversary.
For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, Father Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever.

Response: Amen.

Bishop: This property, as it is, and as it may become, is blessed with the sprinkling of this Holy Water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Response: Amen.


  1. How wonderful, and congrats to all of you Sister Julie!

  2. Christ is Risen! What wonderful news!!!!! I pray for you daily and will continue to do so. may God continue to bless you and your efforts at the Monastery.

  3. I have observed from the very start your great desire to establish a truely "Eastern Rite Monastery" and with much pain, some suffering, many hours of hard physical labor,also through prayer,patience and a great deal of passion to achieve your goals within this your journey of love of God. Hopefully,it shall lead you to the path that is desired to be a reflection to other of "Christ the Bridegroom" himself.


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