"It seems strange to say, but what can help modern man find the answers to his own mystery and the mystery of him in whose image he is created, is silence, solitude -- in a word, the desert. Modern man needs these things more than the hermits of old." Catherine Doherty

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A new blog entry about new visitors who breath new life into our work efforts, as well as teaching us all about eating vegetarian!

August brings strong young backs as we host two college students from Connecticut.
This young man came up for a two week retreat to break away from the hectic world and find some peace of mind working on the organic farm before 
he graduates from college next spring.
Another student in the “class room of silence”. 
(A quote from Matthew Kelly.)

His first work order was to create a new burn pit for old wood scraps.

Next he was working alongside us as we dug out a new insulated pipe system for the outdoor furnace, that would use wood off the property to heat the main house and the church and chapel. That coupled with out hydro power plans will strive to make us more self sufficient. But first we needed to dig out the tunnel for the pipes to pass through!

It was dirty work as we dug deep enough to reach into the earth and clear a passage (sometimes with our bare hands up to our shoulders!) for the insulated pipe to run to the furnace from the house and church.

Once the tunnel was clear the job became a series of pulling and tugging by everyone until the pipe finally surfaced in the furnace shed, 80 feet from the house where it started.

With a little watching over by Mary, the job was indeed a success.

Next on the agenda: roof repairs at the Chapel,..difficult and slippery work for all of us in the relentless rain!

In the days that followed there was much food taken from the vegetable garden and our young visitor cooked many delicious vegetarian meals for the whole house!

On another rainy day a young lady came up to work for a few days and “get away from it all” so we all thought it seemed like a good time to clean out the chicken and turkey coops!

After a few weeks of wonderful home grown food, delightful fellowship and many long hikes we said farewell to this charming and enthusiastic young lady. The same day she left for home, the young man’s father arrived to live out his dream of working a farm on a tractor. How could we say no?

And when it came time for dinner, they returned to the garden with Cathy for more amazing and delicious vegetarian fare.

It was a very productive two weeks, with much renovation and construction work accomplished, as well as much prayer time. What a Blessing. 

We will miss these folks, but the very next day another retreater arrived for a private “poustinia” style hermitage retreat. He was a very kind and helpful man who filled his seven days here with work on the gardens, in the chapel and in quiet moments of prayer.

Towards the end of his visit he seemed to enjoy the apple pie with apples from our orchard very much!

His wonderful sense of humor, faith filled conversations and generous spirit will be missed, 
hopefully we will see him again next year! (We'll have the pies ready!)

Later that same day some day hikers came to explore the trails. On the same afternoon a few more visitors  came to spend quiet prayer time in the Chapel. Then before dinner a family from New Jersey came by to let the kids see the animals while Mom and Dad planned for a family retreat next summer.

The Mary Theotokos Spiritual Retreat Center is certainly fulfilling its’ goal of hospitality and a place of spiritual renewal for people from all walks of life.

We hope you will visit too, and tell your friends,..a website is on the way! I will keep you posted.

Pax et Bonum 

from the Mary Theotokos Spiritual Retreat Center.