Antiochian Women Project 2010: The Convent of St. Thekla
The primary areas of focus of the Antiochian Women on all levels are religious programs, humanitarian work and the annual project. The North American Board (NAB) project committee has the responsibility of coordinating the raising of funds from women throughout the Archdiocese to benefit one specific project adopted each year by the Antiochian Women.
Since 1975 Antiochian Women have raised over $2.3 million dollars towards the support of many worthwhile endeavors, including the Antiochian Village, Married Seminarians, Missions, Project Orphanages, the Retired Clergy Housing Fund, and most recently, Al Kafaat in Lebanon.
This year the project is the Convent of St. Thekla which was founded on the property of the Antiochian Village in July, 2009, by His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP. The Archbishop had long foreseen the establishment of a community of traditional nuns involved with pastoral ministry, withdrawing to pray and then returning to share their monastic life with the faithful.
The plan is that the nuns will maintain a monastic schedule of services, private discipline and prayer, involve themselves in the many ministries at the Antiochian Village, and accept invitations from local parishes.
Mother Alexandra, Acting Abbess, is involved with the building plans for the Convent. Describing the monastery as a spiritual oasis, she said a portion of the existing property, near the Meditation Trail, will be designated for the convent and the monastic community.
The main building will include cells/living quarters for the nuns, a commercial kitchen for use for nuns and visitors, guest quarters and workrooms.
The church will be constructed of Pennsylvania stone, and above the church doors will be a stone carving of St. Thekla going into the mountain.
Both the Site Survey and the Environmental Impact Study for the monastery have been completed and approved. With the completion of the Feasibility Report, the search for an architect to build the convent is underway. The PA Conservancy is assisting with plans.
For information or to contribute to the Convent of St. Thekla, contact your local chapter of Antiochian Women. Chapters are to send project monies to their diocesan treasurer; the seven diocesan treasurers in turn are to send monies to the NAB Treasurer, Sherry Abraham-Morrow, no later than May 15.