October is a very important month in the life at St. Simeon Skete and this past month proved to be especially significant.
Early in the month (7th of October), Nazareth House Apostolate celebrates the Feast of the Holy Rosary with an Annual Rosary Convocation. This year the theme for the event was "A Rosary Geographic" - 3 days devoted to praying the Life of Christ.
The Nazareth House Prayer Rope consists of three strands ("A three-stranded rope isn't easily broken"- Ecc.4:12).
In the first strand we pray the Way of Jesus,
the second we pray the Life of Jesus (Rosary),
and the the third strand we pray the Name of Jesus (Jesus beads).
Whatever strand you are praying, it is termed, "the Prayer Rope", as any one strand contains the other two.
"The Rosary is a sojourn, a walking with Christ in union with Mary, but it is also a place, that has no goal but depth."
"The rhythm of the Prayer Rope measures time at St. Simeon Skete, it pervades it and forms it. "
As is custom at St. Simeon Skete, on the Saturday nearest to the Rosary Feast Day (Oct 7), we go on pilgrimage - A Rosary Pilgrimage - to area Shrines. On the day of the Rosary Pilgrimage this year, we began at St. Simeon Skete, first with Lauds, followed by the Holy Liturgy.
The preparatory prayers of the Rosary were said as the sun rises and lights up the Chapel.
As the fog rolls over the lake and envelopes St. Simeon Skete, we begin our journey.
The Autumn leaves were just starting to change colors
making the pilgrimage drive absolutely beautiful.
Our first stop was at one of our favorite churches to visit, St. Augustine in Leopold, Indiana.
We especially like this church in this quaint little town because the doors are always open for you to come in and pray.
What today has become a novelty (finding a church door open at any time during the day) used to be a matter of normality. Change is not always for the better.
St. Augustine's Parish is rich in history
and we are thankful for their welcoming hospitality.
Here, Fr. Seraphim led us in the first set of Mysteries - The Joyful which are about the mysteries of being human. "-Jesus your life is living in me"
From Leopold, it is on to the Shrine of St. Joseph for the next set of Mysteries. It is on this route to the St. Joseph Shrine that we pass the Peacock Farm. We always marvel at the splendor of this bird.
Upon arriving at St. Joseph Shrine, Seraphim takes time to share a surprise with Denny and Joanie as this is their first pilgrimage with Nazareth House Apostolate.
As you walk up the steps to the shrine, you are taken aback by the enormity of the carved wooden statue of St. Joseph and the boy Jesus.
Seraphim stands with Denny and Joanie as they take it in. But there is more.
Seraphim faces them in the opposite direction to feast their eyes on yet another amazing sight.
It is the view from the St. Joseph Shrine of St. Meinrad Archabbey.
At first glimpse of St. Meinrad Archabbey you the feel as though you've been carried away to Europe.
Fr. Tim Butler leads us
in the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary (the mysteries about the Kingdom) at the beloved carpenter's shrine. "Jesus your life is living in me"
St Meinrad Archabbey is a stop on our pilgrimage but first we travel through dusty roads to the Shrine Chapel of Our Lady of Monte Cassino.
This chapel is our (Seraphim and my) favorite chapel.
It has been our place of refuge - seeking its stillness and simple beauty (again a house of prayer with an unlocked door) ...
we've spent many hours, deepening the prayer in this chapel through the years.
Inside the chapel,
amidst the hand painted Frescos
Fr. Butler shares with us what the rosary means to him
and how it works in, around and through his life.
We pray the third set of mysteries, The Sorrowful Mysteries
- about the mystery of suffering. "Jesus your life is living in me"
The chapel is dark inside, as a church should be - like a womb forming and shaping you
in the likeness of Christ so you can be birthed out as light in the world.
After the mysteries are said, its time for a picnic lunch on the grounds of this wonderful chapel.
A time for refreshment and
before the pilgrimage
makes its next Rosary Stop.
The journey continues
The final set of mysteries,
the Glorious Mysteries - the mysteries of faith, we say on our own in the Sanctuary of the St. Meinrad Archabbey.
Quietly we complete the rosary, some sitting
some walking. "Jesus your life is living in me"
while at the archabbey,
we take time to visit
the beautiful gardens
and the Abbey Press Book and Gift Store. Then its back to St. Simeon Skete where we end the day with a campfire
a night of fellowship.
Praying the Life of Christ together bonds us as it brings radiance to our hearts. And each time it is prayed, with each bead fingered, every moment of our Lord's life shared - that glow resident within our hearts shines brighter.
If you want to get the rosary its simple: Its praying the Life of Christ. If you want to understand Mary relative to the rosary, that is simply also - its saying "YES" to that life.