St. Simeon Skete, Taylorsville Kentucky USA

With St. Simeon, the God receiver, as our patron, the skete seeks to practice the ideals found in our Rule, The Thousand Day Nazareth. In simplicity and poverty, the skete embraces the struggle of inner life through the practice of the Prayer Rope.

See our website at

Donations should be addressed to: Nazareth House Apostolate, 185 Captains Cove Drive, Taylorsville, Kentucky 40071.

Important Notice: All writings, posts, graphics & photographs in this blog are the copyrighted property of (unless otherwise indicated) Nazareth House Media, a division of Nazareth House Apostolate and cannot be copied, printed or used without written permission from NHA Media, Taylorsville, KY.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Visits, Projects and a Special Memorial

I’ve just woke up from a mid-afternoon nap. Seraphim and I have had little sleep lately, I finally crashed.  Waking up, I’m groggy and somewhat sick.  Apparently my body would rather I not wake up.  But I’m excited, I have some special guests at the kellia and I don’t want to waste any of the the time I have with them. 

 The Last few weeks have been intense.  This whole year has seen us and those we love pushed to extremes - struggles, hopes, fears, positives, negatives, joy, sadness - a whole bag filled with jubilant ups and devastating downs toying with our hearts and minds.  At times, its been hard to relate, to think or even pray.  Nevertheless, the Prayer Offices continue at the skete uninterrupted.  Sometimes the timing has been a few moments off schedule but every Office has been said - without exception.  And for me, there have been times when personal praying is difficult, distracted and disjointed.  It is at that time when all I can do is simply hold onto my beads, the rosary in which the Life of Christ is prayed.  And that holding is prayer; a holding onto that (Jesus) which is holding onto us.  

Photo by Aleica Willis 

Photo by Aleica Willis 

On Wednesday, October 2, James and Pa Foday Mansaray arrived from Sierra Leone.  

Photo by Aleica Willis 

An exciting and joyful event to have them here with us, but I want to back up to the week before.    September 22, was a typical Sunday -  Mass at the Sanctuary of the Holy Name - the Skete’s Chapel, with the added joy of taking Holy Communion to the Peterson’s home afterward.  

Photos by Joan Markwell

There, Cindy Peterson was dauntlessly dealing with a body ravaged by cancer.  It wasn’t only the cancer she had to contend with but the damage caused by the treatment used to fight the cancer as well.  Through it all, I have never seen a braver soul, prevailing one hurdle after another, managing to squeeze out a smile, a quick witted remark to those around her or a kind “thank you” to the nurse attending her - even in the most troublesome situations.  After our visit on this particular Sunday, we returned to the skete and began to pack boxes, preparing to move to a new home.  You see after much prayer and consideration, it was determined that Anna House was more practical as the Office Headquarters for NHA and our residence and that the kellia is the better guest house.  And so, we began the move into our new home.  While we were in the process of that move, Cindy made her move to her new home as well, entering life eternal on September 23rd.  

Cindy and I had met prior to her illness but it was after the diagnosis that we got to know each other better.  

Our relationship grew, connected in a spiritual way - and I like that.  You can’t meet Cindy without her spirit showing through.  

A strong, valiant young woman - wife, mother, daughter - she embarked on nothing without giving it her all.  The “proper” thing people say at this time is “May she rest in peace.”  I know she’s at peace now...but resting? Somehow I see Cindy in the Cloud of Witnesses that have gone on before, cheering us on with all the vigor, enthusiasm and determination in which she approached everything while here on earth! 

Last Friday, the NHA Board of Directors began to assemble at St. Simeon Skete. By Saturday night we were all gathered in one spot - including James.  This was a first - all of us meeting in person.  When we meet in person, generally its 5 of us and we rely on video chat meetings, emails and phone calls to coordinate our work with James.  Before the Liturgy, we held our official meeting on Sunday Morning which Pa Foday set in on in an advisory position.  It was very productive with many goals and plans of implementation. As always, its evident what needs to be done, the chore is raising the funding.

Top priorities are 1. the purchase of the front property at the skete ($40,000) and 2. the addition of more classrooms at the NHA School in Kabala ($50,000).  New enrollments are approaching us everyday and we don’t want to turn students away.   Education is vitally important to the future of the community, without it there is no progress as the dependency on aid prevents self-sufficiency.  

While we must strive to fulfill the above goals with urgency, there is another need that is extremely necessary, i.e. a medical clinic.  The healthcare facilities in Kabala are greatly lacking.  Because of this, people must make the journey to Freetown to get somewhat better care.  In Kabala, if you get sick at night, chances are you will not find any medical attention until in the morning and then the equipment, medication and staffing is very limited.  Your emergency or illness must match exactly the treatment the hospital has on hand, if it doesn’t you cannot be treated.  For instance, if you have severe diarrhea and the hospital only has medication for those with constipation - you are out of luck. People need access to healthcare.  Therefore the NHA Board has proposed to build and maintain a Medical Clinic in Kabala near our school and compound.  

The NHA Board of Directors approved the building of the NHA Health Clinic dedicating it in memorial to Cindy Joan Peterson.  Cindy made a huge impact on the lives of many while she was with us, her memory will never fade. 

The children in Kabala prayed for Cindy during her illness.  

An ocean apart, Cindy and the students of NHA School and Pa Foday’s church were united in those prayers.  

What a suitable way of keeping Cindy’s Memory alive - - by keeping people alive - namely the children and families in Kabala.  People who otherwise, without the clinic, have no chance for medical treatment. We estimate that we must raise $75,000 to complete this project. (Considering the price of raising a comparable building in the USA, its not a large sum at all).   I just got off the phone with Supplies Over Seas in Louisville and have already began the steps to supply the clinic with medical equipment and supplies. 

There are many ways you can be of help to NHA and be a part of this great work.  Most importantly we ask for your prayers, for provision and protection.  Without funding, none of these needs, beneficial and essential to many, can be implemented.  Please consider giving today and also sharing the needs, projects and goals with your friends, family and co-workers - inviting them to be a part of this great work.  

There are many ways to donate.  You can make a contribution through the Paypal Donation link on the right side of our website, ( ), arrange to have your bank send a donation through your banking institutions BillPay  or  you can mail your donations to :

Nazareth House Apostolate, 
185 Captains Cove Drive, 
Taylorsville, KY 40071

Checks should be made out to Nazareth House Apostolate. 

If you are making your donation for a designated project such as the clinic in memory of Cindy, or the school expansion project, St. Simeon Skete or any particular need, be sure to note it either on the Paypal instructions section or denote it on your check “for” line.  Donations received undesignated will be deposited into general funds and distributed as priority dictates.

Whatever way you decide to make your tax-deductible gift (reminder: only two months remain in which to make a contribution you can claim on your 2013 tax filing), remember you are not simply a donor but a part of this work.  You are being prayed for daily at St. Simeon Skete and it is YOUR school, YOUR clinic, etc.  in which lives are made better and saved.