St Simon's Parish Blog

Welcome to the Blog of St Simon Stock Catholic Church, South Ashford, Kent, UK. Our address is: Brookfield Road Ashford Kent TN23 4EU

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For nine years up till July 2010, I was parish priest at St Simon Stock Catholic Church, South Ashford, Kent, England. From July 2010 until June 2011 I was Associate Pastor at St Peter's Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan USA and then Pastor at St Anthony Parish, Gwinn, MI until October 2013. I then transferred to the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon to serve as Director of the Tribunal. And that's what I am currently doing. Since February 2015 I have also been serving as Pastor at St Stephen Parish, South East Portland. I miss "da UP" (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) but love being here in the Pacific North West.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Visit of Russian Orthodox Sister

This morning Sister Photinia, a nun from the Russian Orthodox Convent of St Elizabeth the New Martyr in Minsk, Belarus, came to speak about their work for various marginalized groups and to appeal for donations for their expanding work and church building.

From a letter I received asking if they could come:

The Convent was founded in Minsk in 1999. It grew up from the Sisterhood. Sisters of mercy have been serving disabled people at the Republican Psychiatrist Hospital, a children’s and adults’ asylum and one of the city’s hospitals.

Everything began in 1994, when the first sisters of mercy, who were parishioners of St Peter and Paul Cathedral in Minsk went to the psychiatrist hospital willing to take care of the patients. Sisters started coming to disabled people in order to share their compassion and love which they had received from the Church and its sacraments. In 1997 the construction of a church started nearby the Hospital. In 1999 first sisters of mercy took their veils.

At present over 85 nuns live in the Convent. The construction of the churches is still in process, the work carried out in the hospitals and charitable project is still growing..

We have got an estate about 30 kilometers far from Minsk where many homeless people, former prisoners, drug and alcohol addicts find shelter and work, where they have got a chance to start a new life.

We have got plenty of workshops on the premises of our Convent in which we produce candles, ceramics, paint icons, sew priests’ vestments, make embroidery, wood and metalwork. Some laic people are former patients of the hospitals who want to serve God. There is a publishing office as well in which we publish homilies, lives of saints, etc.
Sister told us that the 85 sisters in the convent range in age from 20 to 40. It is remarkable (or is it?) that this community is gaining such young vocations to a way of life that is contrary to the world and so clearly consecrated to God. In the Catholic Church this is happening in those communities that give a clear and distinctive witness to consecrated life e.g. the wearing of a religious habit, strong contemplative and community life, etc.

Sister showed me the work the brothers and sisters do in church construction and design. When I asked her what she thought about our modern Catholic church architecture, she was eloquently silent.

Take a look at their photoalbum.

Here are a few photographs of her visit, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

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Blogger Shirley Hook said...

All my life I have had connections with the Sisters of Mercy and are all very close to my heart. Spreading the word of God and the hard work, love and dedication shown to the poor, sick, orphanages, addicts and so on is overwhelming, and these Sisters are so young, so the least the lay people can do is pray for them and offer financial support.

11:58 am  

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