Friday, January 24, 2014

Thanks Knights!

A huge thank you to Knights of Columbus Council #3304 for their help with a big clean-out project!  They helped us empty and clean out a house across the street (on the grounds of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch) that we are working to transform into a guest house.  It was a ton (literally) of heavy lifting, and they also had a blast tearing down a small old storage shed.  After the project was finished, we enjoyed lunch together at the monastery.

We never could have done all of that work on our own!  Thank you and God bless you!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Please pray for our soon-to-be-postulant Jacqui!

Happy Feast of St. Anthony the Great!
"Burning with divine love and radiant with the Spirit,
your soul rose to desire truly infinite love!
You despised flesh and blood, and lived apart from the world,
yet you were united to it by great silence and abstinence.
Therefore you were fulfilled as you desired,
and as a star radiant with blessings, Anthony, you illumine our souls!"
(Stichera at Vespers)
What a beautiful feast on which to ask for your prayers for our soon-to-be-postulant!  St. Anthony the Great (or St. Anthony of the Desert) was one of the first men to go out into the wilderness to live a life of prayer and of struggle with the demons for the glory of God and the salvation of all.  His holiness drew many other men to settle near him and to receive direction from him.  This is why he is often called the "Father of monasticism."

This is also a special day for us because it was on this feast in 2008 that Bishop John published his letter outlining his vision for a monastery (or monasteries) in the Eparchy of Parma, which led to the foundation of Christ the Bridegroom Monastery in 2009.  (To read his letter click here and scroll half way down to where it says "A special invitation from Bishop John.")  So much has happened in these six years since the publication of that letter, and we are so grateful to God for all of His blessings that He has poured out during that time.

We will receive another blessing very soon--a new postulant on February 1st, God-willing!  Please pray for Jacqui as she prepares for her entrance day!  As a postulant (or in Greek, dokimos), Jacqui will further discern her vocation to monasticism in our monastery.  This period lasts one to two years.

You are invited to leave a comment on this post, or on our Facebook post, to let Jacqui know that you are praying for her!  Thank you!

Monday, January 13, 2014

"Bob wants to be a nun" and the dignity and vocation of women...

Yesterday we spoke at the "Ladies' Day Out" at St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Barberton, Ohio.  We enjoyed spending time with women from the parish and from other parishes in the Eparchy of Parma and other local parishes.  Mother Theodora spoke to the women about the dignity and vocation of women (see excerpt below), and Sr. Cecilia and Sr. Gabriella spoke to the teen girls about the same teen language (well, we hope!).

The teen girls got a laugh out of a little skit that Sr. Cecilia and Sr. Gabriella used to illustrate the fact that men and women have different vocations and that men and women are equal but not the same!  It has been titled on YouTube as "Bob wants to be a nun...."

To see the full video of their talk, click here.

More photos from the day.

An excerpt from Mother's talk:

Only women are created with an empty space within. Women are created to be receptive, to be life-givers.  Blessed John Paul II describes the woman as the archetype of the human race. He said:
“…this dignity consists in the supernatural elevation to union with God in Jesus Christ, which determines the ultimate finality of the existence of every person both on earth and in eternity. From this point of view, the 'woman' is the representative and the archetype of the whole human race: she represents the humanity which belongs to all human beings, both men and women.”
Women physically have a womb, an “empty space within.” Women are the archetype because they are made to receive. Every human being has an innate empty space within. This empty space aches to be receptive, to be filled. It is a void that can only be filled by intimate union with God. Because we’re made in the image and likeness of God, the creature aches to be in union with the Creator.

Our vocation? To help others (and men too), realize and seek this intimate union with God. Of course, we have to personally be aware and be receptive to the presence of God within ourselves before we nurture others to this reality. People are obsessed and distracted by trying to fill this void with anything and everything. We, as women, who literally have this “empty space within”, understand and can gently nurture others back to union with God.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

This Sunday: "Ladies' Day Out" and "The Role of Women in the Church"

Women and teen girls are invited to a "Ladies' Day Out" this Sunday, January 12, at St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Barberton, Ohio.  The day, hosted by St. Ann's Ministry, begins with Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m. and continues with a breakfast, a talk (by us!) and other activities (such as massages!).  Mother Theodora will speak to the women, and Sr. Cecilia and Sr. Gabriella to the teen girls, on the theme "The Role of Women in the Church." 

To register, call Carolyn King at 330-658-7264 or Lee Pancho at 330-928-8669.  If you don't have a chance to register, you are still welcome to attend!

Parish website and video

Facebook Event

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Frigid Feast

Happy Feast of the Theophany (Baptism) of Our Lord!

After the Divine Liturgy this morning, we processed out the back of the monastery on one of the coldest days in a long time...and according to tradition, our chaplain blessed our pond!  We broke a hole in the ice before Liturgy so that the priest could submerge the cross in the water as part of the blessing, but by the time we came out after Liturgy the hole had already frozen!

But we stayed warm inside the rest of the day, and Sr. Cecilia constructed a jello dessert for dinner: a replica of our pond out of blue jello, graham crackers (for the dock) and whipped topping and coconut for the snow!  A cross was hidden under the "ice" for the one who would be lucky enough to find it in her portion!  The dock was complete with photos of us from the morning pond blessing.

For more photos from the day, click here!

"Let us imitate the wise virgins; come, let us go to meet the Master who is now present, For He approaches John as a Bridegroom.  When the Jordan saw Him, it bowed down in fear and stopped; John spoke out, saying: I am unworthy to touch Your immortal head.  The Spirit descended in the form of a dove and sanctified the waters, and a voice was heard from on high: This is my Son who comes into the world to save all.  O Lord, glory to You!" (Litija for the Feast of the Theophany)