Sunday, March 31, 2019

10th Anniversary Countdown: 2012

Answers from yesterday:
2013 Photo #1: Mother (then Sister) Cecilia enjoys a misty evening on the road down to the shrine (the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch, across the street from the monastery)
2013 Photo #2: Delaying the start of our 3:00 p.m. Presanctified Liturgy to watch the election of Pope Francis; we then went to celebrate liturgy, during which our chaplain commemorated Pope Francis in the litanies, and we wondered if this was one of the first liturgies in the world to commemorate the new pope!

Countdown: 4 days left! Remembering the year 2012:

2012 Photo #1
2012 Photo #2

“In heaven, the soul is certain that she loves God, and that He loves her; she sees that the Lord embraces her with infinite love, and that this love shall not be dissolved for all eternity.”
--St. Alphonsus Liguori (quote submitted by Mother Iliana)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

10th Anniversary Countdown: 2013

Answers from yesterday:
2014 Photo #1: In St. Peter's Square, during the canonization of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII, Mother Cecilia holds up the monastery copy of St. John Paul's Apostolic Letter "Orientale Lumen" (Light of the East), which inspired the foundation of our monastery. What a grace to be present for the canonization of this saint who has been such an inspiration and help to us in our monastic journey!
2014 Photo #2: Mother Gabriella and Mother Cecilia enjoy some winter recreation during the observership (extended time of discernment) of Sr. Natalia (then Victoria), in the red snowsuit! There isn't much of a hill at the shrine, so sledding wasn't very successful...

Countdown: 5 days! Remembering the year 2013:

2013 Photo #1
2013 Photo #2
"Blessed are they who give the flower of their days, and their strength of soul and body to Him; blessed are they who in their youth turn to Him who gave His life for them, and would fain give it to them and implant it in them, that they may live forever."
--Bl. John Henry Newman (quote submitted by Sr. Petra)

Friday, March 29, 2019

10th Anniversary Countdown: 2014

Answers from yesterday:
2015 Photo #1: One of many unused photos from our "photoshoot" for the poster for our first fundraising dinner, "Mumford & Nuns BBQ." As you can see, this one didn't quite capture our spirit... 
2015 Photo #2: Showing off our mud after pushing out a car that "someone" had gotten stuck in the muddy grass at the shrine (coughMotherTheodoracough).

Countdown: 6 days! Remembering the year 2014:

2014 Photo #1
2014 Photo #2
"But why, someone says, did Christ admit that harlot? So He might put away her iniquity, because there is no malady which prevails over His goodness. Do not merely look at the fact that He received her, but consider the other point also: how He changed her."
--St. John Chrysostom's Homily on John XI (quote submitted by Sr. Natalia)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

10th Anniversary Countdown: 2015

Answers from yesterday:
2016 Photo #1: Meeting one of the original Missionaries of Charity after the profession of perpetual vows of our friend Sr. Brigid of the Sisters of Life.
2016 Photo #2: Mother (then Sister) Iliana kicks off our "icebreaker" activity at the ByzanTeen Youth Rally at Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio. The photo is taken from a photo montage video by David Bratnick.

Countdown: 7 days to go! Remembering the year 2015.

2015 Photo #1
2015 Photo #2
"We will not be purified by looking at our miseries, but by gazing upon Him who is all purity and holiness."
--St. Elizabeth of the Trinity (quote submitted by Mother Cecilia)

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

10th Anniversary Countdown: 2016

Answers from yesterday:
2017 Photo #1: Sr. Petra (then Sara Lynn), prays at the Sea of Galilee during our pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This particular location is the place of the calling of the first apostles. At the time, Sr. Petra had no idea that she would be named after St. Peter, one of the apostles who was called by Jesus at this spot!
2017 Photo #2: At a different "Sea" a bit closer to home...posing on a huge piece of driftwood at Mentor Headlands Beach at Lake Erie, during some Bright Week recreation--the week following Pascha (Easter).

Countdown, day 8! Remembering the year 2016.

2016 Photo #1
2016 Photo #2
 "'If you knew the gift of God!' [John 4:10]. The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is He Who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; His asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for Him."
--Catechism of the Catholic Church 2560 (Quote submitted by Mother Theodora)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

10th Anniversary Countdown: 2017

Answers from yesterday:
2018 Photo #1: Mother ("Sister" at the time) Iliana is excited about the progress on the renovations of St. Mary of Egypt Poustinia. 
2018 Photo #2: We and the Mercedarian Sisters enjoying a recreation day together, brainstorming the lyrics to our Oreo video!

Continuing our 10-day countdown. Nine days to go! Today we remember the year 2017.

2017: Photo #1
2017: Photo #2
"Relying on God has to begin again everyday as if nothing had yet been done."
-- C.S. Lewis (Quote submitted by Mother Gabriella)
(Happy Feast of the Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel!)

Monday, March 25, 2019

10th Anniversary Countdown!

Ten days from today, April 3, will mark our 10th anniversary here at the monastery! In celebration, we are beginning a 10-day countdown! Each day, we will share a photo or two (probably photos you haven't already seen on our blog or in our newsletter), starting with 2018 and working our way back to 2009, as well as a quote from a saint or other spiritual author, submitted by one of the nuns. We'll let you guess what is happening in the photos, and then we'll give the answers the next day. We hope you enjoy the countdown!

2018 Photo #1
Also: Happy Feast of the Annunciation! What a beautiful day to begin our countdown, remembering the moments these past 10 years when we were invited by the Lord to say along with the Mother of God, "Let it be done to me according to your word!"

2018 Photo #2

"We always make the fatal mistake of thinking that it is what we do that matters, when really what matters is what we let God do to us. God sent the angel to Mary, not to ask her to do something, but to let something be done.” --Venerable Fulton Sheen (Quote submitted by Mother Iliana)

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Join us for Bridegroom Matins on Great & Holy Wednesday

We invite you to join us for Bridegroom Matins, our patronal commemoration, on Great & Holy Wednesday, April 17, at 8:00 a.m. at the monastery. The readings and hymns of this service rouse the heart to conversion and vigilance for the coming of the Bridegroom and offer strength to His Bride the Church as we journey with Him in His passion. A light breakfast will follow.

Please RSVP to or 440-834-0290 by Friday, April 12.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

ByzanTeen Lenten Day of Reflection with the nuns & Bishop Milan!

We will host the annual ByzanTeen Lenten Day of Reflection (for ages 12-18), on Palm Sunday, April 14, 2019, from 12:30-4:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Parma, Ohio. This year's program is titled Journey with Jesus: From "Hosanna" to "Crucify Him" to "He is risen!". The day will begin at 11:00 a.m. with Divine liturgy at the Cathedral: 1900 Carlton Rd. in Parma. After Divine Liturgy, lunch will be served, and the program will begin. We will lead breakout sessions about the services of Great & Holy Week, followed by a talk by Bishop Milan.  Please RSVP to Kim Kocuba at or 216-337-2673 by April 11. Bring a friend! We hope to see you there! 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Join us for the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, April 4

Join us in a deeply-moving, once-a-year Lenten experience on Thursday, April 4, at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, 1900 Carlton Rd., Parma, Ohio.  The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete takes us on a journey through the entire Bible, placing us in the shoes of the penitents of the Old and New Testaments and teaching us from their examples.  The hundreds of prostrations unite our body and soul as we repent of our sins and experience God’s mercy.  We will also listen to the life of St. Mary of Egypt and venerate her relic.  The opportunity for the Mystery of Holy Repentance (Confession) will also be available.  A simple Lenten meal will be served 5:00-5:45 p.m., and the Canon will begin at 6:00 p.m.  All are invited to come for part or all of the Canon, even if you are not physically able to participate in the prostrations.  The duration of the Canon is approximately 3.5 hours.  If you plan to come for dinner, please RSVP by Friday, March 29, to 440-834-0290 or

Monday, March 4, 2019

Lenten talks by the nuns

March 9
Lansing, IL
Mother Gabriella will speak on prayer during a women's day of reflection at St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church, and will lead sessions consisting of prayerful reading of Scripture and discussion. See poster to the right for more information.

March 23-24
Youngstown, OH
Mother Iliana will speak at a lock-in retreat for teens and young adults.

Theme: ” He who has ears to hear let him hear” (Mt 13:9)
Key Note Speakers: Mother Iliana, Christ the Bridegroom Monastery, Burton, Ohio; Father Alex Wroblicky, Eparchy of St Josaphat in Parma, POH.
Additional Speakers: Seminarians Michael Kunitz and Kyprian Wojciechowski, Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Pittsburgh, PA. 
Date: Saturday, March 23rd to Sunday, March 24th (1:00pm to 1:00pm)
Location: Saint Anne’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, 4310 Kirk Rd, Youngstown, Ohio 44511.
Costs: $30.00 (presentations, book, meals & T-shirts included)

Contact: Fr. Deacon Myron Spak @ 412-303-9086 /
RSVP: by Sunday, March 10th.   

March 31
Brecksville, OH
Mother Cecilia will lead an afternoon of reflection at St. Joseph Byzantine Catholic Church with a talk titled, "Who, me? Contemplative prayer?" The program & lunch are free (donations accepted). RSVP required to Darlene Hritz, 440-237-5237 or, by March 28. Babysitting is available (include in your RSVP.)

About the Talk: Contemplative prayer may sound like something that's only for monastics, but it's not! We're all called to this type of prayer, but I find that many people have misconceptions about what it is or worries about doing it right. I would like to share with you what I have learned and the joy I have found in contemplative prayer.

10:30 am Divine Liturgy
11:30 am Lunch in the New Orleans Party Center
12:00 or 12:15  Program in New Orleans Party Center (talk and a short video)
Opportunity for Confession

St. Joseph Byzantine Catholic Church
8111 Brecksville Road
Brecksville, OH

April 14 (Palm Sunday)
Parma, OH
We will lead an afternoon Lenten program for teens at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. More information to come.