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Recently, Mother Alexandra was interviewed by Come Receive the Light about her pilgrimage to Syria and Lebanon. That interview, which also includes thoughts on monasticism and the spiritual life, is now available.
Christ is in our midst!
I am honored and humbled to introduce myself as the newly-elected Vice-President & Project Coordinator of the North American Board of the Antiochian Women. It is with a great deal of excitement that we journey together over the next two years, and I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you.
Having served as the Recording Secretary and Religious Coordinator for the North American Board, many of you already know me. However, for those that I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting, a brief introduction is in order. I live in Louisville, Kentucky, part of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, and am a member of St. Michael the Archangel Church. I am a convert to the faith, having been raised as a Roman Catholic, and came to Orthodoxy over 16 years ago.
Those who were able to attend the Antiochian Women’s luncheon at the Archdiocese Convention in Chicago last July were able to witness the presentation of a check in the amount of $104,830.79 from the Antiochian Women to His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP towards the 2010-2011 NAB Project of “The Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village.” The women of our beloved Archdiocese – through their hard work and abundant blessings – have raised $217,659.33 since 2009 when Metropolitan PHILIP first asked us to raise funds to assist with the building of a monastic community.
Recently, I returned from a pilgrimage to Syria and Lebanon. When embarking on such a journey, we often have expectations. My expectations were simple: I wanted to visit the holy Shrine of St. Thekla and monasteries, gleaning information and experience to provide consistency and to ensure the transmission of the Antiochian ethos within the life of the Convent of St. Thekla in Pennsylvania.
On Tuesday, December 7, 2010, His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip met with Mother Alexandra at the Archdiocese office in Englewood, New Jersey to discuss Mother’s recent trip to Syria and Lebanon and important future developments regarding the progress of the plans for the new buildings and candidates for the Convent of St. Thekla in Bolivar, Pennsylvania.
Recently, His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip blessed the hiring of DSA Architects to work with Mother Alexandra in translating the vision for the Convent of Saint Thekla into viable plans for the buildings to house a monastic community and provide a place and space for prayer and work.
On November 1, 2010, Mother Alexandra met with Douglas Shoop at the Antiochian Village. They toured the building site and met to discuss details for the production of 3D renderings and schematic drawings. Please continue to pray for Mother Alexandra and for women to consider joining her in living the monastic life at Saint Thekla Convent. Also, please remember Douglas Shoop in your prayers - that God will guide his talents and bless the work of his hands.
Ascending the Mountain: It’s a Family Road Trip
The annual St. Thekla Pilgrimage was held on September 24-26 at the Antiochian Village. Bishop Thomas was the presiding hierarch, and Mother Alexandra of the Convent of St. Thekla was the main speaker of the weekend. Both of them talked on the theme of “Ascending the Mountain: It’s a Family Road Trip."
The main emphasis of the pilgrimage’s theme was in learning how to live an average, workaday life in a holy, Orthodox manner. Along with the talks by His Grace and Mother Alexandra, four small group discussions were led by clergy from the area. The topics included “Confession: Setting and Resetting the Course," “The Eucharist: What’s In Your Lunchbox?," “Holy Unction: First Aid and Urgent Care” and “The Walk: A discussion of the New York Times Best-Seller by Richard Paul Evans."
On the weekend of May 28-31, 60 families were in attendance at the Antiochian Village Family Camp for a weekend of prayer, fellowship and fun in the sun. As part of the Morning Program on Saturday, the children were able to visit the Convent of St. Thekla in groups. It was a beautiful day, and they were able to walk down while enjoying the sights and sounds of the woods surrounding the Convent. During their visit to the St Thekla Chapel, Mother Alexandra spoke about importance of prayer and how God helps us through prayer. To the children's delight, the bird that nests next to the chapel was also present sitting on her eggs. No news yet of baby thrushes.
The Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest invite women to the fifth annual retreat Friday-Sunday, May 14-16, 2010 at Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery located at 3389 Rives Eaton Road in Rives Junction, Michigan.
Mother Abbess Alexandra of the Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village will present the retreat, “Create in Me a New Heart,” focusing on the Holy Spirit in our lives. She will bring together reflections on the actions of the Holy Spirit through salvation history from the Scriptures and the Fathers with emphasis on our practical, daily synergy with the Holy Spirit.
The icon illustrates an ancient understanding of Jesus' resurrection as the gift he offers to all humanity on a renewed Earth. While all Orthodox churches are filled with icons, the Resurrection icon in the camp chapel at Antiochian Village retreat and conference center is one of the largest in Pennsylvania and possibly the United States.
"An icon is theology in color," said Mother Alexandra, founder of the Convent of St. Thekla, which also is on the grounds of Antiochian Village in Bolivar, Westmoreland County. The center, which also houses a museum and bookstore, is a ministry of the Antiochian Orthodox Church.
On Pascha Sunday the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published Orthodox Icons Are Seen As "Theology in Color", with extensive comments from Antiochian monastic Mother Alexandra. Click here to enjoy the article in full.
On March 3, 2010, an unexpected and out of the ordinary visitor arrived at the edge of the Antiochian Village property. A small black bear was sighted in a tree. A Game Comissioner was called in. He sedated the bear and gave it a mask to protect its eyes and mouth while being moved.
The Game Comissioner confirmed that this is out of the ordinary. After examination, it is clear that this young bear is ill and thin. He came out of hibernation early, and finding no food, he tried to locate some in the neighbor's garbage.
The Game Commission assured Mother Alexandra that sleeping beauty will be medicated, fed, and released somewhere good for bears.