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.

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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.

Monday, December 24, 2018


"Where God also hath highly exalted Him, 
and given Him a Name which above every Name." -Phil. 2:9

During one of Seraphim's first visits to Sierra Leone during the war, he visited Grafton Camp - a displacement camp for those who lost their homes and limbs from the atrocities of war.   The RUF rebels were hacking off arms and legs with machetes in a cruel and inhumane effort to gain control of diamonds and power.  Notice in this photo that even the baby's hand has been hacked off. 

As Seraphim visited with the people in Grafton camp, he delivered food (rice) and clothing.  As he got ready to leave the camp they all wanted to know his name.  He told them his name and turned to board the transport only to hear the words that continue to haunt him to this day:

"I have a name." 

He turned and saw that food and clothing were not enough.  There was something called dignity - the recognition that this is a person and not just flesh to be covered and fed!  

A lifetime of repeating the Name of Jesus had suddenly gone super-nova, exploding with the blinding light of understanding.  It was God Himself crying out:  "I have a Name!" 

Rudy and Os lying on a prayer rug studying the Name of Jesus

"I have a name." 

God has a Name

The Mass of Christ-Mass is this Name.  "A Name which is above every Name" 

God has a Name

Matthew 1:18-25 
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Feast of the Holy Rosary

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.  Having completed NHA's 22nd Annual Rosary Convocation, we stand further committed to the Rosary and the riches it provides.  At the Skete we have partnered with Ireland, the UK, Australia, others in the USA, Lebanon, Canada, Poland, Mexico, Columbia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Belgium, Romania, France, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Finland, Spain, Portugal,  Croatia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Syria, Holy Land, Jordan, Iraq, Armenia, India, Russia, Philippines, Japan, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Nigeria, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganada amongst other countries, to form a Holy League of Nations. We will all gather on our coasts/borders to pray the Rosary for Life & Faith.  Together we are calling on God, through the powerful intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary, to heal our wounded nations and return them to holiness.  We'll be saying our rosary at the River later today.  

The Rosary is a holy and special devotion 
that is praying the LIFE of Christ. 

“The rhythm of the Prayer Rope measures time at St. Simeon Skete, it pervades it and forms it. ”  

“The Rosary is a sojourn, a walking with Christ in union with Mary, but it is also a place, that has no goal - only depth.”
The Third Strand of the Nazareth Prayer Rope is The Remnant Rosary, praying the Life of Christ.  This Rosary came into being during an all night prayer vigil in a Northern woods, September 1969.  The verses of focus for that vigil were Col. 1:24 and Col. 1:27.
“Jesus your life is living in me.”
“The Remnant Rosary is praying the Life of Jesus in union with Mary who said yes to that Life (Lk. 1:29, 38; 2:19, 51; Jn. 2:1,5; 19:25-27; Acts 1:14).  The Mysteries are the inner room of meeting (Mt. 6:6), a storeroom where new and old treasures are brought forth (Mt. 13:52): The Rosary is a window through which I can look out and see God’s view of things.  The Blessed Mother, Mary Messenger of Peace is loved in my life; the Remnant Rosary has given to this love that form and expression which is most beautiful and desirable.”
“I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries.  Even so then at the present time also there is a remnant.” -Jer. 23:3; Rom. 11:5
“If you want to get back to the source of the Rosary, to its origins we would need to open the Scriptures. That is why I like to bring together the Bible and the Beads, the two together.” —Fr. Gabriel Harty, O.P . and for us at the skete, we also add the bowl. 
“If you want to understand the Rosary its praying the Life of Jesus. If you want to understand Mary, it’s saying yes to that Life. Therefore the Rosary is praying the Life of Jesus in union with Mary who said yes to that Life.” —Seraphim

“The Rosary (as vocation) is four prayers orchestrated by four sets of Mysteries celebrated in four Rosaries combating the four evils of our day in the Hour that our Lord asks for.” (Could you not watch with me one hour?”) Mat. 26:40 —Seraphim

The month of October is a good time to commit to praying the Rosary everyday. 

For more info on the Remnant Rosary, click on this link:

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Feast of St. Francis

Pray, Pray always.  

"StFrancis Day has always deserved my special attention since I need a lot of guidance to find the answer to the question "What place does poverty really have in my life?" I've felt that without a certain attempt to live a life of poverty I would be distracted. There are three aspects of Poverty that attract me: 1. Living simple, sober and silent, 2. a kind of forlorn fostered freedom, and 3. alleviating all poverty unlike Christ."  G.K. Chesterton/ Bk. StFrancis says that 'StFrancis' argument for poverty was 'that the dedicated man might go anywhere among any kind of men, even the worst kind of men, so long as there was nothing by which they could hold him.  If he had any ties or needs like ordinary men, (something that he may be 'hanging' onto) he would become like ordinary men." - (Gal. 2:20).  

(Acts 17:6) "...they dragged certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying these that have turned the world upside down come hither"

Therefore each year on St. Francis day I "stand on my head" because by seeing the world upside down I have discovered its dependent nature.  By seeing the world upside down, you can see the same city, people, church, home and job ... but in a different way! 

Dependence by definition means relying on for support... "Hanging".  When I saw in my upside world all that was just hanging there, I realized a greater truth. Maybe its not so much that we are being held - maybe the greater truth is that we're not being dropped! When a student drops a course, their reasons are usually that the course is too hard, not interesting enough or doesn't fit into their present plans.  But let me tell you something, God will never drop you no matter how hard you become, or how uninteresting you are or how unfit.  How do I know?  I've turned upside down." -Seraphim+

Thursday, July 19, 2018

World Prayer Corps Prayer Cycle

30 Day World Prayer Cycle

Prayer Broadcasting around the World in 30 days
For each day of the month (30 day cycle), we’ve listed (from left to right) 6-7 Countries in which to pray. By the end of the 30 Days, we will have Prayer Broadcasted over the world.
If you are just starting and let’s say today is the 19th of the Month,  follow down the yellow column until you see the day – 19 and pray for South Africa, Solomon Islands, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Denmark, Togo and Kosovo.   The next day, the 20th begin with Nicaragua…

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Healing Light

May the glories of Sunday forward throughout your week and seep into our day to day struggles as we begin a new week, Lord renew us in your love.  

"Teach a searching heart that God's love is unchanging.  That human love begins and grows by touching His Love"

Retablo Housed at Anna House, St. Simeon Skete

Lord, we avow the promise, that you would renew us in your love. Sing to us the love-song that Mary heard: "Rejoice.... the Lord is with you" Luke 1:28

Lord, renew us in your love

Father, you call us to "shout for joy" but our hearts are burdened, our spirits are weary and our hands are heavy.

Lord, renew us in your love

Father, the root of bitterness grows deep within, we find it hard, at times, to give or to receive love. 

Lord, renew us in your love

Father, we have been hurt by others; in our jobs, schools, churches, families and places of recreation, by those we had loved and trusted. 

Lord, renew us in your love

Father, we still carry the hurts of childhood. We had been made to feel inadequate, unable to cope, unwanted. 

Lord, renew us in your love

Deep within us, there is a child which needs to grow up; a half-person that needs to come into the light of the New Creation. 

Lord, renew us in your love

Lord, Jesus, we have wasted our years, the locusts have devoured our harvests.  Stretch forth your hand and renew us and restore what the locusts have eaten. 

Lord, renew us in your love

Reach out and touch our past, Lord, so that we may live in the present and not be afraid of the future. 

Lord, renew us in your love

Lord, we rejoice that you RENEW our lives in your love, and that you SING over us at the festivals. Sing to us as you sang to Mary at the dawn of the New Creation.  

Lord, renew us in your love
(Pgs 16/17 adapted...Healing Light of the Rosary, Fr. Gabriel Harty,OP)

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Month of May Rosary Pilgrimage

As May draws to an end, today those of us at Nazareth House Apostolate, St. Simeon Skete embarked on our annual Last Saturday of May Rosary Pilgrimage to celebrate The Blessed Virgin Mary.

Pilgrimage is a necessary regular event for us. 

Today, falling on the Saturday after the vote in Ireland to repeal the 8th amendment, (in other words Ireland voted yesterday to prevent at will, their unborn  children in the womb from ever seeing the light of day - as a matter of convenience, a form of birth control), this tragedy which is an ongoing tragedy here in America already,  especially made today's pilgrimage even more necessary.  The result of this vote and the many implications go way beyond abortion.

Today's pilgrimage as with every exit from our property began with a Hail Mary at the Statue of Our Lady of Grace, for which our parish is named.

Our first stop was at the Valley Hill Shrine. 

There we said the opening Prayers of the Remnant Rosary inside the beautiful Chapel in construction. 

Periodically as a sacrificial act of love for God, David Stillwell travels from Cleveland to Springfield with his trunk filled with bricks that he made in his basement.  He places a row or two on the chapel and returns back home to Cleveland only to make more bricks, travel here again and add another row.  He says, "it doesn't matter if it gets finished,  it is my acting out of my love for God".  Because of its ongoing construction, we felt it fitting to begin the Rosary Pilgrimage within the chapel as the Remnant Rosary which is the Life of Christ is always constructing Christ within us.  Jesus your life is living in me.

At the Nativity Scene at Valley Hill, we said the Joyful Mysteries.

From there we traveled to The Dominican Priory, The Parish of St Rose.  Wandering through the grounds, I was struck by the millstones about the property.  I'd noticed them before but in light of the strong push in the world these days,  for the massacre of the innocents in the womb -- the millstones were more distinct.

But whoever shall offend one of these little ones who believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. -Mt. 18:6

We began our stop at St. Rose by saying the Reparation Rosary at the Shrine of Rachel - in reparation for abortions and disrespect for life in general.

As we entered the Narthex it was comforting to see a collection of diapers which will be distributed to babies in need.  Praise God for Life. 

Inside the Sanctuary of St. Rose we prayed the Luminous Mysteries:

St. Rose has beautiful stained glass windows.  We prayed the Baptism Mystery at this window.

The changing water into wine mystery at this window

Finishing with The Supper Mystery we began our journey to the Abbey of Gethsemani. 

There we prayed the sorrowful mysteries.

upon leaving Gethsemani, I had to make sure to see one of my favorite Icons...

I always like it when Mary wears red.

From here we concluded our Pilgrimage by saying the Glorious Mysteries at the Holy Rosary Dominican Cemetery.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, a sinner.

Nazareth House Apostolate is the last place in the West 
and the first place in the East.
"As I think back over the years of this Nazareth, I can see God’s hand shaping and bringing us to a fullness.  May we be or have nothing unique that can set us apart.  May such terms as “new, exciting, dynamic, unmatched, remarkable, rare, unparalleled” be not a part of that which describes us.  Aside from the barest organizational needs (I Cor. 14:40) may we have no leader other than Christ; may we have no rule other than the Gospels; may we have no titles, nothing that can distinguish us (Jn.3:30; Gal.2:20).   ... we are merely stepping into the current of a great unfolding movement that God has already started quietly and inconspicuously in the hearts of men (Ps. 46:4; Ezek. 47:1-9).  May we come to realize that out of the sight of the average man, something very powerful has been going on under the surface of things (Jn. 12:24).  At this 'level’ we multiply by losing ourselves in God as He has ’lost’ Himself in us.  We in hope, must cling to our hiddenness, our ordinariness, as ancient seeds, waiting to be found in the caves and tombs of antiquity to be replanted and watered, to flower with a strange strength." -Seraphim

The Rule of Nazareth can be summed up in the following:
“The Poorer Means” ©
“Go, sell, give and so become poor.  Take up your cross and follow Him into the moment…as leaven into the dough of humanity that it may rise to become bread of Eucharist for the hungry…As leaven, invisible that He might be visible…being flung out to the furthest places by His centrifugal love and at the same time being pulled paradoxically into the centre by His centripetal love…as salt, light, leaven and branch to the edges and to the centre of a savorless, dark, flat and barren world, establish Houses of Nazareth, Reveal Jesus, follow Jesus revealed…poor, as Jesus was poor…Pray always.”   © 2003 Poorer Means, Nazareth House Apostolate

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Shared Blinks

I read yesterday, a quote from Saint John Paul II: 

"My greatest desire in life is to be in 
constant eyelash-to-eyelash 
relationship with God."  

I found the quote to be a beautiful description of the depth and longing of closeness with The Almighty.  

When you consider the use of 'eyelashes' in the quote; "*The key is hidden inside the word “reconciliation.” Many words contain what are called dead metaphors—“dead” because their metaphorical meaning has become lost to us as language has changed. So, for example, when we say someone has scruples, we mean they have a sensitive conscience; but, in Latin, a scrupulum is a small pebble, so when someone has scruples, it’s like they have a rock in their shoe, niggling them. It’s easy to recognize the similarity in the two situations.

Another metaphor lies within the word “reconciliation.” The Latin word for eyelash is cilia. If you were so close to someone as to have your eyelashes with theirs (“with” being cum or con-  in Latin), you’d be concilia. And if you were once that close, but had drifted apart and then returned again (“again” being re- in Latin), you would be re-con-cilia—you would be reconciled.
This one word, with its hidden metaphor, succinctly summarizes salvation history. In the beginning, human beings shared a great closeness with God. In their innocence, Adam and Eve stood uncovered before God, not needing to hide anything. God walked with them in the garden in the cool of evening, like you might do with an old friend after a big dinner.
But we separated ourselves from God by our pride; we withdrew from that closeness, that intimacy, by wanting to change the nature of the relationship, by trying to be equal to God. Instead of being gentle infants held in our Father’s arms, cheek to cheek, we were headstrong toddlers who pushed and wiggled and squirmed out. And when we realized what we did, we hid, we covered ourselves, and we couldn’t look God in the face anymore.
But God loved us and wanted us back. God wanted us to be able to look Him in the eye again. So He came among us as one of us, like to us in all things but sin—he had arms and legs, hands and feet, a heart and a mind… and eyelashes. 

Icon: Our Lady of Tenderness, Anna House (St. Simeon Skete)
Jesus came to sinners, to the afflicted, to the poor, and stood eye to eye with them and said: “Your sins are forgiven you.” And by His Cross, as man he stood eyelash to eyelash with God on our behalf and said, “Father, forgive them,” and as God could respond, “It is accomplished.” Thus God “reconciled the world to Himself,” as the prayer of absolution says." -Nicholas Senz

*-Nicholas Senz

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Praying for each other...

 On St. Antipas Day, those of us at the skete, equipped with our brass icon of St. Antipas jumped into the car and set out for a day of prayerful pilgrimage of our own repentance/renewal and to pray the Name upon all we meet.  

The Name of Jesus contains all things, a Reservoir of our needs, wants, sufferings, joy, hope - its all within His Holy Name.  

Praying for our friends, family, strangers, co-workers by placing them into His Holy Name relieves us of “to do lists” and/or removes our expectations for them and gives them entirely to God’s will, not ours.  

Revelation 2:12-17 states:
  12- To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of the One who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13- I know where you live, where the throne of satan sits. Yet you have held on to My Name and have not denied your faith in Me, even in the day My faithful witness Antipas was killed among you, where satan dwells.
14- But I have a few things against you, because some of you hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to place a stumbling block before the Israelites so they would eat food sacrificed to idols and commit sexual immorality. 15- In the same way, some of you also hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16- Therefore repent! Otherwise I will come to you shortly and wage war against them with the sword of My mouth. 17- He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone inscribed with a new name, known only to the one who receives it.”

Praying the Name over the city, with all its activity, makes it one of many areas in our world to practice The Shema. 

“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, (Hear O Israel; The Lord our God is One Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these”) - Mark 12:29-31 

“The Shema”
“So then Lord, it is this? It is truly this? It is only this? This is the whole law and all the prophets? To love with one’s whole heart... To love Him who first loved us, to love everything that He loves, all men, all women, all creatures... Yes, my child, that is it, and that is all. Everything ‘else’ has value only inasmuch as it is the expression, the carrying out - under so many various forms - of that initial impulse which is My limitless Love... The heart transplants, which in our day have become possible, are a wonderful sign of a spiritual reality. To give one’s heart to another, to accept the heart of another... It is the parable of limitless Love’s triumph.” - (pgs 71-72 of “In Thy Presence” by Lev Gillet). 
And as Thomas Merton realized in Louisville, Kentucky - while on the busy streets - we are all connected!  When one hurts we are all affected in some way - when we hurt, God hurts, when our brothers and sisters hurt (or joy) we are affected - most have become numb to this under the illusion that the world is all about the self - self wants, self needs, self happiness.  But we are connected. 

“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world. . . . 

This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. . . . I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed. . . . But this cannot be seen, only believed and ‘understood’ by a peculiar gift.” -Thomas Merton


praying at the Water Co. (Living Waters) many opportunities for pray...