Friday, September 3, 2010

Monastery Visit in Olympia, Washington

“I lift my eyes to the mountains—from where will my help come? My help shall come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1,2) It was a beautiful view! Sr. Julie and I enjoyed the awesome snowcapped Cascade Mountains from the plane during our flight to the Great Northwest. In our quest to seek and fulfill God’s will in our lives, we visited Holy Theophany Monastery in Olympia, Washington at the end of July to pray with the nuns and learn from their experience of monastic life. We were welcomed with open arms and hospitality. Mother Anastasia, abbess of the monastery, willingly shared her wisdom and the history of their monastery and wanted to help us in any way possible. We enjoyed delicious meals prepared by Mother Irene and were inspired by Mother Johanna’s childlike joy.

Fr. Joseph Stanichar, pastor of St. John Chrysostom in Seattle was a gracious host. He traveled to the monastery and drove us to his parish. We shared heartfelt conversations with Father Joseph and his parishioner, Elizabeth, who fed us well, then we all went to the beach to watch the sun set behind the Olympic Mountains and topped off the day with ice cream before heading back.

Sr. Julie and I were also given the opportunity to suit up in bee keeper’s gear and were intrigued by the meticulous and dedicated work of the bees as we watched Mother Irene gently tend to them to start a new hive. Although she was extremely careful, she still was stung. We hope to raise bees at our monastery in the future, but we’ll probably have to stock up on Benadryl.

Blossom, the monastic dog, created some excitement one afternoon when she chased six raccoons up a tree. She had fun barking and jumping at the tree and intimidated the cute raccoons as they cuddled together on a large branch, but they obviously saw no humor in it.

We are grateful to Holy Theophany Monastery and to Fr. Joseph and Elizabeth for their love, prayer and support. We still have a few more places to visit before we discern where God wants us to be for formation, but we continue to trust in the unfailing love and infinite wisdom of our Bridegroom and gaze higher knowing our help will come from Him.

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