This Fall Fr. John and I had the great blessing of going on a little spiritual retreat to the wonderful monastery of the Mother of God the Consoler (Panagia Parigoritissa) in Brownsburg-Chatham, Quebec. While we were there my brother, Fr. Matthew, and his wife Presvytera Catherine, came over from Ontario so we could spend some quality family time in the peaceful and prayerful environment of the monastery. I wanted to share some photos of our pilgrimage with you, along with the history of the monastery and ask you to please consider donating to the monastery’s building fund.
The History of the Monastery (taken from the monastery’s website with minor edits):
Panagia Parigoritissa (the Most Holy Theotokos the Consoler) Greek Orthodox Monastery – the first Greek Orthodox monastery in Quebec – was founded in 1993, under the auspicious care of his Eminence, Metropolitan Sotirios, head of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto (Canada).
Under the direction of their spiritual father, Elder Ephraim of Philotheou, two monastic women, Abbess Thekla and Sister Ephraimia, migrated from the ancient and historical Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner of Serres in central Macedonia to Canada. Once in Quebec they found themselves in particularly trying conditions. They were obliged to forego the age-old organized monastic life which flourishes in the mild Mediterranean climate of Greece, and destined to engage in an effort to establish a new type of settlement.
An old farm once belonging to an English-speaking family was bought with the purpose of being converted into a monastery. It was an extensive landscape comprising of 235 acres of dense forest set on a hill in the breath-taking Laurentians, 16 km northwest of Lachute in Brownsburg-Chatham. Grass and bramble had grown over the property and the house was in ruins and in need of repair. A surfeit of love, sacrifice and arduous labour on the part of the increasing number of sisters and kind volunteers was required in order to transform the area into a garden of our Most Holy Mother the Consoler, to whom the monastery is dedicated.
For a more complete history see here.
A beautiful sketch of the proposed expansion.
The Monastery’s Construction Project (also taken from the website, with minor edits):
Fr. Matthew showcasing a fantastic book (Abba Dorotheos’ Practical Teachings on the Christian Life) in the monastery’s lovely boutique.
In the Spring of 2009, the building project of a pavilion for the sisters’ needs began. The building will house the 22 sisters who are now sharing 16 rooms in two different buildings, far apart from each other. There will be an infirmary, workspaces, a kitchen and a dining room, an office, a library and two chapels to solely serve the needs of the nuns. By accommodating the sisters, facilities will be available once again to receive pilgrims. For, aside from monastics’ objectives of spiritual ascent, prayer and constant contact with God, their goal and ongoing endeavor is to provide a place of reprieve for the weary souls of pilgrims. Thus, beyond serving the day to day needs of the sisters, the expansion of the monastery will also provide much needed guest houses and reception space for pilgrims and people in need.
The monastery’s beautiful courtyard.
And so, financial aid is needed for the continuance and completion of the project. One can offer money, expertise, material, equipment or anything that could be of help in the project. According to the Church Fathers by offering alms to monasteries we relieve the monastics slightly from their material burden, allowing them more time for prayer and spiritual work. In this way, the monastics pray for their benefactors and everyone benefits from their prayers.
You can offer a donation by credit card or by sending a check or money order to the address below. Donations can be made in whole amounts or monthly payments over a certain period of time. If you wish to help in other ways please contact the sisters of the monastery.
“Blessed are the merciful for they shall find mercy.” (Mt 5:7) Give and you will receive God’s blessings. You will be counted worthy of His grace and you will be eternally commemorated in the monastery’s Divine Liturgy: “For the builders of this holy monastery let us pray to the Lord… Lord have mercy”, (from the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom).
The current state of the building’s construction.
Monastere Vierge Marie la Consolatrice
827 ch. de la Carriere
Tel: 450-533-4313/ 450-533-1170
Fax: 450-533-1169/ 450-533-6234
To the far right you can see the building under construction. Next to that is the icon of the Mother of God which is located just above the entrance to the monastery’s chapel.
If you wish to see photos of the building project go here.
Please share information about the monastery’s building project with as many people as you can!
May the Mother of God be with us all!
Fr. John is laughing about how one of the monastery’s ponies just about chewed off the bottom of Pres. Catherine’s skirt.
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