Saturday, June 4, 2016

Vocations blessed by ‘fatherly love’

Bishop John entrusting Sr. Iliana to Mother Theodora, September 2015
The first time I read St. John Paul II’s apostolic letter “Orientale Lumen” (“Light of the East”), I was intrigued by the thought of monasticism “flourishing once more in the Eastern Churches” and thought, “That sounds really cool, but how’s that ever going to happen?”

Little did I know that, years later, I would meet a bishop who saw this need and had the courage and vision to make it reality.

Bishop John Kudrick publicized his vision of monasticism for the Eparchy of Parma in 2008.

At that time, I was already in dialogue with him and was seriously discerning monasticism. To be honest, the thought of it “freaked me out” at times, but I distinctly remember the peace and the confident “yes” when I read his document.

His vision was firmly grounded in “Light of the East,” which devoted considerable attention to monasticism as a necessary “reference point for all the baptized” and as the “very soul of the…church.”

From the beginning of Christ the Bridegroom Monastery, Bishop John has been our spiritual father and he has shared with us his love of God and prayer, truly incarnating his desire to teach God’s children how to pray and to experience the peaceful and life-giving presence of God within.

Each of us at the monastery is grateful to have been blessed with his fatherly love:

“Bishop John’s ‘yes’ to the Holy Spirit’s inspiration for this monastery gave me the ability to say my ‘yes’ to the incredible gift of my monastic vocation. Through Bishop John’s example, he has also helped me to learn how to pray and to seek God in gentleness and simplicity.”
  — Mother Cecilia

“Bishop John’s love of prayer drew me and so many others into the heart of the Byzantine Church. I attribute the beginning of my love for our liturgical prayer to evenings spent at Bishop John’s residence, praying Vespers with other young adults. I am so grateful for the seeds planted during those years, which have blossomed into the monastic vocation I am blessed to live today.”
— Mother Gabriella

“Bishop John is a witness of humility and faith and a manifestation of the Father’s love.”
   — Sister Emilia

“It amazes me when I consider that without Bishop John’s prayerful vision and his courage to start a women’s monastery, I would not be able to live out my vocation today. For this I will always be grateful.”
      — Sister Iliana

“I’ve known Bishop John for such a short time, yet he welcomed me into his flock with the gentle love of Christ. He is one of the most sincere men I have ever known.”
— Victoria

Through God’s grace, we pray that monasticism will continue to flourish in the Eastern Churches.

--Mother Theodora (originally published in Horizons, the newspaper of the Eparchy of Parma)

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