Friday, January 15, 2016

"Blow upon my garden..." Newsletter Reflection 1 of 6

We published our winter newsletter in December, but if you, dear online reader, didn't have a chance to read our reflections (or were overwhelmed by the number of pages...), we decided to offer them each individually on our blog!  So here is the first:  

"Blow upon my garden that its perfumes may spread abroad."
Song of Songs 4:16

An Update from Mother Theodora

The verse above expresses the awesomeness of God’s particular love for us in 2015. We were very excited when we learned that 2015 was going to be dedicated to consecrated life, but we had no idea how blown away we would be through the winds of change by the end of the year. The breath of the Bridegroom blew upon the garden of the monastery and in the gardens of our hearts. The currents were constant and often changed in intensity. Sometimes it was still or gentle and other times it shifted from an exhilarating gust to what seemed to be a hurricane.

Our monastery underwent some major transformations from buildings to spiritual formation. When the needed major renovations were in full force from February to July, it seemed at times like a whirlwind of noise and distractions and moved us to seek even more stillness in our hearts in order to hear God’s voice in the gentle breeze (1 Kg 19:12). This stillness is necessary for the perfume of our garden to become concentrated in order to await another breath of God to spread His intoxicating grace within and beyond the monastery.

The Bridegroom’s caressing breeze profoundly affected the monastery’s spiritual development.  Jacqui, now Sr. Emilia, and Moki, now Sr. Iliana, have joyfully taken the next step in their monastic vocations and became rasophore nuns (novices) on September 7. Our new dokimos (postulant), Victoria, who entered on September 30, has been an enthusiastic and delightful addition to our family.

It was a glorious and awesome experience of heaven on earth when over five hundred people witnessed Mother Cecilia and Mother Gabriella make their life profession on November 8 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Parma, Ohio. During the profession, Bishop John gave us a beautiful surprise by officially appointing me as hegumena (abbess) for the monastery. He gave me a pectoral cross he received from Pope St. John Paul II. I can’t describe the joy and excitement I experienced when he placed the cross over by head. One of my greatest joys since then is being able to give a blessing to my daughters every morning and night. I hope that the reflections in this newsletter may be a waft of perfume for you from our spiritual experiences this year.

Our monastic garden is growing, and in order for it to thrive, we need your prayers and financial support to bloom, to be fruitful and to spread its perfume abroad. In addition to our daily needs, we are also in need of additional funds for our renovations which have not been completed due to the cost of unforeseen repairs. We appreciate any financial assistance you are able to give. If you are not able to help us at this time, we sincerely ask for your prayers. Thank you for walking with us in our monastic garden as the Bridegroom continues to blow new life upon it. We thank God and all of you for your faithful love, prayers and support! Be assured of our prayers for you and your loved ones. God is with us!

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