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500 West Main Street
Uniontown, PA 15401

Phone: 724-438-8644
Fax: 724-438-8660

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Sisters of St. Basil Plan for the Future

MonasteryLike many other religious communities of Sisters, the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great of Uniontown, Pa. are facing the challenges of decreasing vocation numbers and shrinking resources.

The Sisters, who make their home at Mount St. Macrina (formerly Oak Hill estate and the home J.V. Thompson, of the famous coal baron), are in the midst of planning a future for underutilized and aging structures on the property.

“Right now we are in the initial planning stages and we are seeking possible candidates who may have innovative plans for these buildings,” said Sr. Ruth Plante, Provincial, Sisters of St. Basil.

The Sisters are considering many ideas, including affordable housing, medical and education services. It is of upmost importance for them to keep with the mission of their community – “a praying, healing, life-giving presence.”

The Sisters plan to remain living at Mount St. Macrina and will continue their ministry of the annual Pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, which has been held over Labor Day weekend for the past 83 years.

Originally the property, situated along the National Road (Route 40), was acquired by the Sisters in 1933, after J.V. Thompson went into bankruptcy.  The House of Prayer, which is now a retreat center, was his three-story mansion. The Oak Hill estate was a wedding gift to his second wife Honey. Thompson died in 1933 and the Sisters moved onto the property in December 1933, and their first Pilgrimage was held the following year.

Recently, the Sisters were awarded a grant from the National Religious Retirement Office. The grant paid for an evaluation of the property and buildings. The study was conducted by Hoffman Planning, Design and Construction, Appleton, Wisc.

A request for proposals will soon be distributed. Plans are to review the proposals in late winter-early spring.

“The halls and grounds are filled with so many memories. The thought of sharing or letting pieces of the property go is very emotional for us, but also very necessary. We trust God will send us the right people to continue his plan,” added Ruth.

The Sisters have enlisted the services of Newmark Grubb, a real estate marketing firm in Pittsburgh, to create a marketing brochure.

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GLORY TO JESUS CHRIST!                               Pilgrimage 2017

Dear Friends,

Over the course of this past week, many of the external pieces of pilgrimage have slowly been packed away – the benches are back in the storage room; the tents which dotted the hillsides have been taken down; the candles have been moved indoors where they will continue to be burned in an ongoing prayer.

What continues to linger are the memories of so many spiritual blessings and memories.  The remnants of hurricane Harvey attempted to disrupt us in our celebrations on Saturday, but failed.  So many faithful pilgrims refused to be deterred by the chill in the air, the strength of the breeze, or the intermittent showers.

Instead, the wind was a reminder of the breath of the Spirit, and the raindrops were so many blessings flowing from Mary, the Life-giving Spring.  This faith and steadfastness brought forth the fruit of a lovely, sun-filled Sunday reminding us of the loving warmth of the Light of the World. Pilgrims of all ages filled the air with hymns and prayers blanketing the Mount with happy hearts and a palpable sense of peace and joy.

Be assured that all who came had an important part in making this pilgrimage a memorable and spiritually uplifting event. We will continue to pray for you each and every day, asking our dear Mother of Perpetual Help to watch over you and protect you. May the road of your life’s journey lead you back to this holy Mount for pilgrimage 2018.

With our love, prayers, and sincere gratitude,

Sister Ruth and the Sisters of St. Basil

Special Pilgrimage Rates Available at the Hilton Garden Inn

hilton-garden-inn-uniontownThe special group rate at the Hilton Garden Inn Uniontown is available from Thursday, 8/31/2017 through Tuesday, 9/5/2017.

The rate will be honored by the hotel three (3) days before and three (3) days after based on availability.

The special rate is $129.00/night, which includes one (1) voucher for the full cooked-to-order breakfast (normally sells for $10.95 per person each morning) each day.  Each additional registered guest can receive a breakfast voucher with an increased rate of $5.00 per person per day.

If interested, please make your reservations using one of the following methods:

  • Use the Hilton Garden Inn Uniontown Website

http://hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/pennsylvania/hilton-garden-inn-uniontown-MGWUNGI/index.html

When booking, please select the option to “Add Special Rate Codes” and enter Group Code APB

  • Contact the Hotel Directly to make the Reservation

Call (724) 434-7200 and select Option 5.

Tell them that you want the 2017 Annual Pilgrimage Group Rate (Group Code APB)

Retreat: “FORGIVENESS”

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OVERNIGHT RETREAT

Presented by: Becky Johnen

Topic: “Forgiveness”

Friday-Saturday, October 6-7, 2017, 7:00 pm Friday—4:00 pm Saturday

Offering: $60.00     Registration Due:  Oct. 2

This presentation will focus on what forgiveness and compassion are, the benefits of each, how to develop the skill of forgiveness, how to develop and show compassion and how each can lead us down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

For questions or further information, please contact:

Mount Saint Macrina House of Prayer

510 West Main Street  P.O. Box 878  Uniontown, PA  15401

Phone:  724-438-7149   Email: hpmsm@verizon.net

 

 

BASILIAN SISTER JUBILARIANS FETED DURING COMMUNITY DAYS

Jubilee is a time to “return to Galilee,” to the time when one first heard the call and to treasure in one’s heart the living memory of that call. It is for the Jubilarians, and for all the Sisters, “a return to that blazing light with which God’s grace touched us at the start of our journey.” These words of Pope Francis express this even more succinctly when he stated, “To return there means reviving the memory of that moment when his eyes met mine, the moment when he made me realize that he loved me.” These are the memories which sustain us on the journey and which we celebrate at each Jubilee.

Nine Sisters of St. Basil celebrated a lifetime of dedication during the annual community day gathering at Mount St. Macrina. From Diamond Jubilarian Sister Maria Petruska, to 40 year Jubilarian Sister Susan Sisko, the Sisters have offered a total of 565 years of loving service throughout our Metropolitan Church. As the Feast of our holy Mother St. Macrina fell during community week, July 19th was the day chosen to honor all these Sisters. The gospel during the Divine Liturgy of Thanksgiving was about the Beatitudes. Father Michael, Monastery Chaplain, noted that this gospel asks the most of us. In addressing the Jubilarians, Father spoke of the depth of their love for the Lord, this love exemplified in their fidelity to the holy vows over the years. No less are they honored for their faithful fulfillment of the various apostolates to which they were called and assigned.

Earlier in the week, the Sisters gathered at the Manor to honor Sister Maria Petruska, Sister Rita Keshock, Sister Paula Dzurisin and Sister Mary Grace, the Jubilarians who now reside there. The joyful gathering began with the singing of odes of the Akathist to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. A wonderful time of socializing followed the congratulations offered by Sister Ruth, Provincial, on behalf of all the Sisters.

Briefly, each one’s ministry is included in the following notes.

75th Anniversary

Sister Maria Petruska entered the community from St. Mary’s Parish, Mahanoy City, Pa.

Sr. Maria’s teaching ministry included the elementary, high school and college levels both within the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Province and abroad in Palestine, Guam, Japan and Tanzania. Sr. Maria’s empathy for those entering the United States lacking a proficiency in English led her to tutor for the Intermediate Unit I Adult Learning Center in Uniontown. Several of her students still keep in friendly contact with her. Sister now resides at Mt. Macrina Manor.

70th Anniversary

Sister Rita Keshock entered the community from St. Nicholas parish, Youngstown, Ohio. She spent many years as a teacher and principal before devoting her talents to fine arts and crafts at the monastery. Sr. Rita’s specialty is etching icons on eggs, and she has given many workshops teaching the above technique. Sr. Rita was an active member of the Uniontown Art Club and the Uniontown Flower Club, and she took great joy in sharing her talents and knowledge among the membership. Presently, Sr. Rita resides at Mt. Macrina Manor.

Sister Paula Dzurisin came to the monastery from St. Michael’s in Pittston, Pa. She also spent a good number of years as a teacher and principal in the parish schools as well as at Mount Macrina Academy. During the Alumnae reunions, her students make a point of visiting her.  Following her years in the teaching ministry, Sr. Paula spent a year in pastoral visiting at the Manor.  Her background in business education led to her next assignment, that of managing the Card Department at the monastery. When health issues required a lessening of her responsibilities, Sr. Paula continued to assist in that same ministry for a number of years. Sr. Paula now resides at Mt. Macrina Manor.

Sister Bernarda Sevachko entered the community from St. Nicholas parish in Youngstown, Ohio. Sr. Bernarda’s first 45 years of service were devoted to the teaching apostolate. For the next 25 years, with unflagging energy, she has been active in pastoral and catechetical ministry for the five Byzantine Catholic parishes in the Youngstown area. Her ministry is marked by the enthusiasm which she brings to all she does. At present, there is no indication that Sister Bernarda is thinking of retiring.

60th Anniversary

Sister Regina Adams came to the community from St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic parish, Trenton, N.J. Sister had been both teacher and principal in many of the schools staffed by the Sisters in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio. After leaving the teaching apostolate, Sr. served in parish ministry in her home parish of Trenton, N.J. for five years. She is currently serving in parish ministry for the Wilkes-Barre, Kingston and Swoyersville parishes, as well as cantoring at St. Mary’s Parish, Wilkes-Barre.

Sister Melita Marie Penchalk entered the community from St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic parish, Barberton, O. Sister served mainly in the teaching apostolate on both the elementary and secondary levels in the schools in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey and New York, Sr. Melita also served in administration as a Provincial Councilor. After this, for the next 12 years, she was an Assistant Superintendent of Catholic Schools in Phoenix, Ariz.  Presently, Sr. Melita serves as community archivist and helps part-time in the Gift Shop.

Sister Mary Grace Skuban entered the community from St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Taylor, PA. Sister was an LPN on the staff of Mt. Macrina Manor, serving both in direct nursing care and in medical records. Other ministries were at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary, at Mt. Macrina House of Prayer, and as Activities Director at St. Basil’s Home. Upon returning to the monastery, she served as monastery sacristan as well as assisting with the health care of the Sisters at the Monastery. Sr. Mary Grace now resides at Mt. Macrina Manor.

Sister Seraphim Olsafsky served two terms as Provincial of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Province in Uniontown. She entered the community from St. Edward’s Roman Catholic Church in Youngstown, Ohio. Sr. Seraphim was active in a variety of ministries, beginning her apostolic work as a teacher and/or principal in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Sr. Seraphim also served as Directresss of Novices, as Assistant Provincal, Personal Formation Directress, Social worker, Curator of the Archieparchial Museum and Director of the Byzantine Seminary Press. Presently, she is Director of Mount Macrina Cemetery and Mausoleum.

40th Anniversary

Sister Susan Sisko came to the community from St. John the Baptist Church in Bridgeport, Conn.

As with most of the community, Sister was active in the education ministry at both the elementary and secondary levels, sometimes concurrently as principal. In addition to being on the Provincial Council for two terms, she also served as Coordinator of the Monastery community during this time. Vocation, Formation and Young Adult Ministry were also assignments carried out by Sr. Susan. Presently, Sr. Susan is a resident director at Notre Dame University in Indiana.

Each of the Sisters has brought a diversity of gifts and talents to the Province, and each has enriched it in her own unique way.  May God grant each of them many more spiritually fruitful years in His service.

Celebrating with Jubilarians are Sr. Maria (75 years), Sr. Rita (70 years), Sr. Mary Grace (60 years), and Sr. Paula (70 years).

Celebrating with Jubilarians are Sr. Maria (75 years), Sr. Rita (70 years), Sr. Mary Grace (60 years), and Sr. Paula (70 years).

!st Row: Sr. Susan, Sr. Seraphim, Sr. Melita Marie, Sr. Regina and Sr. Bernarda. 2nd Row: Father Michael Huszti and Sr. Ruth, Provincial.

!st Row: Sr. Susan, Sr. Seraphim, Sr. Melita Marie, Sr. Regina and Sr. Bernarda. 2nd Row: Father Michael Huszti and Sr. Ruth, Provincial.

Jubilarians enjoy a celebratory meal with Sr. Ruth and Father Michael.

Jubilarians enjoy a celebratory meal with Sr. Ruth and Father Michael.