Great Lent Newsletter and Donation Appeal - 2016
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Great Lent Newsletter and Donation Appeal - 2016

Epitaphios - F54

Epitaphios - F54

"For Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation....” 
(2 Cor. 7:10)

    Our Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

      Bless!  The Lord!

Because we are Eternal in dimension, nothing just earthly can fulfill our inmost needs.  We are built to desire more than all the treasure on earth, and when we don’t touch this spiritual dimension, we are uneasy and empty, no matter how we try to cover it up.  This is the root of all worldly sorrows, for we are looking to be fulfilled by just earthly things, people, or situations.  This cannot work.

Godly sorrow is using our pain and emptiness in a positive and constructive way.  It comes by learning from experience that we do need more, which only comes from a living relationship--humble, obedient, and loving--to Jesus Christ, and thereby looking beyond a merely worldly life.  We  need to become abundant in Heavenly things and Heavenly ways, which is often hidden from worldly thought.  We need to become ourselves Heavenly.

When we use our earthly sorrows in a Godly way, we begin to feel different sorrows, but these lead to joy.  These new sorrows begin as we become more aware of how we daily sin and miss the mark, and are far from Heaven, lacking in Godly efforts.  Ultimately we see that we are distant from God because we do not fully love Him, and see how intensely He loves us.  These sorrows have joy hidden within them because by reaching out to God desperately in our spiritual poverty, humility is born, and we begin to enter the joy of the Resurrection, for we too are resurrected in love, and enter the fore-chamber of Heaven.  In Great Lent, all these things that are hidden beneath the flow of daily life open for us if we will just enter into this process with God foremost in our minds and hearts.  Let us begin  today.

Common Monastic Building:

 Common Monastic Building:
Dining Room & Kitchen Tiling Done

Our Monastic Life This Winter

In general the weather has been milder than other years though in Wisconsin that is still relative as Winter can still be quite challenging.  Right now the snow is still melting and the traditional runoffs from this have hopefully passed with only smaller ones so far this year.  You never know, however, for in Wisconsin it has been known to even blizzard in early May in years past.

Our life of prayer continues and as we enter the Great Fast of Lent, it will grow as the daily church services can be more that twice as long.  It means getting to church earlier, and staying longer and later almost every day.  Yet, the Lenten Season has a sweet repentant pathos built in to the many bows and prostrations and greater fasting. 

We at the Skete still struggle to just make ends meet, and Winter is harder with extra bills to pay for heating, snow plow service, and more hearty food for the monastics and all those who work here in the icon production at the Skete.  This has grown over the Winter, and we are glad to have such wonderful people to share what things we have, as this can be an agape of love.

Our wood supply for the back valley has lasted with some left for next year.  Our lawn mowers and brush hog were repaired late last Fall so they would be ready for use this Spring.  If we get the first mowing in before the major rains, the rest of the season goes smoother.  Down by the Wisconsin River, about four miles away, there is just a slight hint of light brown by the little branches on the trees, not green yet, but an anticipation. We hope that the green time will come again here soon.


12 Solar Panels Up & 12 More Coming Soon

12 Solar Panels Up & 12 More Coming Soon

Good News in the Skete Back Valley

The best news just now is that from the generous response to our last special fund-raising for completing an important stage of the Common Monastic Building, the tiling is almost done, the interior electric is almost done (with lights on at night, what a difference!), and the last woodworking and other interior construction is almost done.  This is all within sight, and if the work continues on schedule all these areas will be done in just weeks.  Thank you for moving this forward so the building can be livable.  A kind donor has already pledged the funds to finish the solar upgrade from 12 to 24 panels, from one to two inverters,  and for the additional connecting wiring.  All these changes are a big blessing for us. 

To be basically functional we still first need to get and  install all plumbing fixtures (toilets, sinks, showers, and water heaters).  The septic field and well and well pump are already in place.  This will cost $6,000.  A kind donor has pledged to match these funds up to $3,000. 


The second priority is to set up the kitchen at least minimally with a small stove, refrigerator, freezer, basic kitchen cabinets and counters, two sinks (one for preparation and one for pots and pans),  and a prep table to assemble food.  This will cost about $9,000.  All appliances and systems are low energy in design throughout the building because it is an off-the-grid solar system. 


Common Monastic Building: Upstairs Lights On!


In Closing

Our daily needs are still very important and for this we need your help.  Our work in supplying to the Faithful reproductions of the widest possible variety of the great icons of the world is our primary outreach from us to you.  Our icons are in many, many churches, church halls, monasteries, seminaries, offices, and homes.  We are processing now a large number of new historic icon images that may total over 2,000 additional images, over and above the 2,500 images we already have.  Icons enliven spiritual lives.  This really matters.  Please help us do it by buying icons and making donations to help us support our monastic life and this icon mission outreach.


 Common Monastic Building: Upstairs Lights On!



Our desire to quickly finish the construction of our Common Monastic Building is very important too.  When the lights first came on after so many years of building as our fund-raising allowed, we were actually delighted, very delighted.  It was one of those let there be light moments.  With the completion of so many parts of the building--water, sewer, solar electric and interior electric, propane, heating, tiling, painting, and woodwork--it feels and is very close to being done.  The bathroom and water heater plumbing set up would be a big step forward.  Help us do this now if you can.

In this holy season of Great Lent, we all are trying to change our focus from just outward things to inward things.  This is blessed work.  We invite more prayer, more self-restraint, and more charity towards all.  Please let us be a part of your charitable heart in prayers and gifts as you are touched to do so.  You are in our prayers and thoughts too.  May we enter more deeply this time of repentance and change with Godly sorrow bringing us at last to the joyous Light of the Resurrection which shines so bright in all of Creation on the night of His rising from the dead to burst apart all sins and bring gladness to the world.  May we all greet Pascha together gratefully on that most Blessed Day.

Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The monastics at St. Isaac of Syria Skete
            and at the Convent of St. Silouan,
            and the Faithful at St. Nicholas Church
            and the Staff at Orthodox Byzantine Icons
            and at St. Isaac's Bookstore
  Click for General Monastery Donations Page

  Click for Donations to Common Monastic Building 


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