Monday, April 29, 2019

Join us for our spring work day, May 25

Join us for a day of outdoor and indoor work projects, prayer, food and fun at the monastery and the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch on Saturday, May 25.  Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome!  The day begins at 10 a.m., includes lunch, and closes with vespers at 5 p.m. followed by a cookout.  Come at whatever time you are available, and bring a side dish to share if you can.  The monastery is located at 17485 Mumford Rd. Burton, Ohio.  Please RSVP* by Monday, May 20, to or 440-834-0290.

*Please RSVP with:
1. The number of adults (include teens) and the number of kids (12 and under)
2. Will you be here for lunch or dinner or both?
3. The dish you plan to bring

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Entering through the closed doors

This morning before Divine Liturgy, I was praying with the Gospel accounts of Christ's coming among the Eleven in the Upper Room, both on the first day of the week, and eight days later (John 20). I was struck by the fact that He entered, "though the doors were shut," so I prayed about the shut doors in my heart. I've become aware since entering the monastic life that I cannot heal myself. Some of my wounds are so deeply buried that I can't identify them; therefore I cannot open them to the balm of the Spirit. I have to trust the Father to bring them to light in His timing, and to minister to my broken soul in the ways He knows will most heal and purify me.

During Bright Week--from Pascha through Thomas Sunday--the priest leaves the Royal Doors and the deacon doors on our iconostasis open as a reminder that Jesus Christ has burst asunder the doors of Hades and opened to us the way to eternal life. During all our services this past week, I delighted in the unusual sight. At the end of Liturgy today, as our chaplain moved to close the doors, I prayed, "Jesus, every year this makes me sad..." And suddenly, my desire to have access to Christ in the holy place was suffused with the glorious truth of the Resurrection:  We worship the Risen Lord Who walks through shut doors. And in His Love, He enters into our hiding places where we cower in fear.

My prayer for you during this Paschal season is that you, too, would give the Lord permission to penetrate your defenses, to enter into the secret places of your hearts and abide with you, too.

--Sr. Petra

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Eternal Sabbath

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

"For He has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of His will, according to His purpose which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth" (Ephesians 1:9-10).

The Resurrection is the beginning of the eternal Sabbath, in which we rest in God--in which we abide in Him. Bright Week is a time to "practice" this abiding--to let God bring about this rest, this union. It is not a time to seek satisfaction in free time, recreation and food. These things cannot fill us. They are gifts given to us to be signs of the sustenance, fulfillment and joy in union with the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

May you be richly blessed during these 40 days of celebration of the Resurrection!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Save the date for the Bridegroom's Banquet

Our Bridegroom's Banquet will be a month earlier than usual, so be sure to save the date! We hope you can join us for a great evening! In the meantime, have a blessed Holy Week & Pascha as we journey together with the Bridegroom as He lays down His life for His Bride, the Church.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

We'll miss you Scout!

Our dear monastery cat, Scout, died on Thursday, with all of the nuns surrounding her. She lived with us for nearly the entire 10 years of the monastery; the month after we moved in, we adopted her from a family member of Mother Theodora. Scout's presence, curled up on Mother's lap, as we gathered for community recreation in the living room, will be missed!

As we begin Great & Holy Week, we are reminded of our own deaths and grateful for the gift of Christ's Resurrection and the renewal of all creation.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Boys & Girls Camp Registration Open!

In honor of the Eparchy of Parma’s 50th anniversary celebration, Boys and Girls Camp will be hosted June 19-22 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, as a joint event for high school students; the minimum age is 13. The weekend will focus on the Christian call to holiness, centered on the question, “But who do you say that I am?” which will be discovered through talks, opportunities for prayer and confession, group activities and discussion groups. Campers will also participate in the Eparchy of Parma’s 50th anniversary celebration, including a pilgrimage walk, prayer vigil and ending with a hierarchical Divine Liturgy for the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, our eparchial patron. The weekend will be led by the nuns of Christ the Bridegroom Monastery, along with a dedicated team of priests, deacons, seminarians and lay leaders. To register, please visit The registration deadline is May 31; space is limited. Questions? Email or call the nuns at 440-834-0290.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Great & Holy Week Schedule

Monday, April 15
Great & Holy Monday
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

Tuesday, April 16
Great & Holy Tuesday
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

Wednesday, April 17
Great & Holy Wednesday
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Bridegroom Matins followed by a light breakfast, for our patronal commemoration (please RSVP to
440-834-0290 or
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts & Mystery of Holy Anointing

Friday, April 19
Great & Holy Friday
7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.  Jesus Prayer for 15 min., Matins with the 12 Passion Gospels
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.  1st & 3rd Royal Hours
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.  6th & 9th Royal Hours
5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.  Vespers and Burial Procession

Saturday, April 20
Great & Holy Saturday
7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.  Jesus Prayer for 15 min., Jerusalem Matins
3:00 p.m. - 5:40 p.m.  Vespers & Divine Liturgy of St. Basil

Sunday, April 21
Pascha: The Resurrection of Our Lord!
9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.  Resurrection Matins & Divine Liturgy

Monday, April 22
Bright Monday
9:00 a.m.                                     Divine Liturgy & Procession

Tuesday, April 23
Bright Tuesday & Feast of St. George
9:00 a.m.                                      Divine Liturgy

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Today is our 10th anniversary!

Today finishes up our 10th anniversary countdown! On April 3, 2009, Mother Theodora (then Sr. Celeste) and Mother Cecilia (then Julie) moved into our monastery, and even though the journey began a little while before that day, it really took root and began to grow on that day. We are so grateful to God for all the blessings of these 10 years, and also for all the many painful struggles, because they have made us into who we are, drawn us deeper into the heart of God, and made us more closely resemble our Bridegroom. Please pray for us that we may grow in ever greater faithfulness and trust of Him. We hold all of your intentions and needs in our hearts.

We hope that these past 10 days you have enjoyed our little selection of mostly-unpublished photos from the past 10 years! We have enjoyed looking through them! On this final day of our countdown, we won't make you wait until tomorrow to find out what these photos are about. God bless you!

2009 Photo #1: Mother Theodora (then Sr. Celeste, on the right) & Mother Cecilia (then Julie, on the left), move in to the monastery, April 3, 2009

2009 Photo #2: Our first "public appearance," selling lemonade at the Eparchy of Parma's 40th Anniversary Celebration

Answers from yesterday:
2010 Photo #1: Post-it Notes line our old living room after a day of "five year planning," while God was probably chuckling at us for our attempts to "make plans!" Not many of those plans came to fruition in the way we imagined!
2010 Photo #2: Mother Theodora and Mother Cecilia taking a walk on a snowmobile trail in the woods behind the shrine.

"I love You my Bridegroom; I seek you with painful longing."
--Troparion of a woman martyr (quote submitted by Mother Theodora)

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

10th Anniversary Countdown: 2010

Answers from yesterday:
2011 Photo #1: Mother Cecilia (then Julie) helps her mom to cut out our first set of habits. Before then, we had permission from the bishop to wear a black skirt and black headcovering, but on Great & Holy Wednesday of 2011, Mother Theodora (then Sr. Celeste) was tonsured as a rasophore nun and Mother Cecilia was also given permission to wear the basic habit along with her and to be called Sister. Mother Gabriella (then Jessie) joined our community in May.
2011 Photo #2: Mother Gabriella and Mother Theodora play with the kid goats after our daily barn chores at Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery in Otego, NY. We lived at this monastery for three months to learn from another Eastern monastery. In addition to learning about Eastern monasticism, we also learned how to milk and take care of goats!)

Countdown: 2 days left! Remembering the year 2010.

2010 Photo #1

2010 Photo #2
"Abba Lot came to Abba Joseph and said: Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, and my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; and, according as I am able, I strive to cleanse my heart of thoughts: now what more should I do? The elder rose up in reply and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He said: Why not become fire?"
--A story from the desert fathers (quote submitted by Mother Cecilia)

Monday, April 1, 2019

10th Anniversary Countdown: 2011

Answers from yesterday:
2012 Photo #1: Visiting Sr. Flora and Sr. Adalberta in the nursing home. These are the two Social Mission Sisters from Hungary who lived in our monastery for many years before us and took care of the shrine. When we were getting started, they had been in the nursing home for a year and a half, and they gave us their monastery! We are so grateful for the Sisters and their many years of prayer that sanctified this place. Sr. Flora (seated in photo) has since passed away, but Sr. Adalberta still resides at Regina Health Center in Richfield, Ohio.
2012 Photo #2: Mother Theodora enjoys some tomatoes from the garden before canning the others. This photo was taken in our old kitchen, before renovations. We don't miss the "carpet that looks like brick" in the kitchen!

Countdown: 3 days to go! Remembering the year 2011:

2011 Photo #1
2011 Photo #1

"Every time I feel my powerlessness and inability to influence people directly, I become more keenly aware of the necessity of my own holocaust."
--St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (quote submitted by Mother Gabriella)