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Sisters of St. Basil to Hold Memorial Day Tribute

On Monday, May 29 (Memorial Day), at 11:00 a.m., the Sisters of St. Basil the Great will hold a Memorial Day tribute for the deceased buried at Mount St. Macrina Cemetery. The names of all deceased military personnel will be placed upon the altar during the Divine Liturgy (Mass) celebrated in the Monastery Chapel.  At 11:00 a.m., there will be a prayer service at the cemetery celebrated by Very Rev.Michael Huszti, JCOL. Military honors will be provided by members of the AMVETS Post 103 Honor Guard. All family members and friends are invited to join the Sisters in remembering their loved ones on this occasion.

Obituary: Sr. Jean Marie Cihota, OSBM

+SR. JEAN MARIE-2Some last-minute preparations at the Pastoral Center in Phoenix, Ariz., would be the last joyful and loving service Sr. Jean Marie would offer in the long list of her missions as a Sister of St. Basil. It was from that place that Jesus called her to Himself on Thursday evening, the 18th of May.

Sr. Jean Marie (Joanne Ann) Cihota was born in Mingo Junction, Ohio, the daughter of the late John and Anna (Burch) Cihota. She entered the Sisters of St. Basil from St. Nicholas Church in McKeesport, Pa., on February 2, 1956, and made her Final Profession of Vows on August 20, 1961.

Sister Jean Marie began her ministry as a teacher on the elementary level for about a dozen years before being called to be part of the team which organized the Religious Education program and office in Pittsburgh. As part of this group, she collaborated in initiating the God With Us series for Eastern Christian Formation. Her years in this ministry included beginning the same office in the Parma Eparchy. The office being firmly established there and in Pittsburgh, Sr. Jean Marie was called to Pastoral Ministry for the Passaic Eparchy at St. Therese Church in St. Petersburg, Florida. Here her many talents and gifts were put to good use until she answered the call to community ministry as the Assistant to the Provincial.

Sr. Jean Marie held this position for ten years, also coordinating the many aspects of life in the monastery. Additionally, she served as Vocation and Affiliate Directress for the community and was also appointed Assistant Vocation Director for the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. Her term of office concluded, the West beckoned Sister Jean Marie, and the Eparchy of Phoenix became the home of her heart for the last years of her life. She was no less generous in expending her efforts in this mission territory than in all her previous years. While she may be remembered for the Myrrh-Bearers Retreat, for her work in Safe Environment, and her continuing involvement in Religious Education, Sr. Jean Marie herself wrote that she would like to be remembered for “my love of the Lord and all I come in contact with! My great love and zeal for our Byzantine Catholic Church! Spreading the Good News of Christ!” This she truly lived fully for more than 60 years as a Basilian Sister.

Sr. Jean Marie was preceded in death by her parents, her stepmother Mary Ferko Cihota, and her sister Patricia Bellis. In addition to her members in community, she is survived by her cherished brother John, her sister Mary Lynn Rebholz, her stepsister Rita Ferko Joyce, and many devoted nieces, nephews and their families.

Relatives and friends will be received at the Monastery Chapel on Tuesday, May 23 from 3:30 pm to the time of the Parastas Service which will be sung at 7:00 pm. The Funeral Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Wednesday, May 24 at 10:30 am in the Monastery Chapel by Metropolitan Archbishop William C. Skurla.

Interment will follow in the Dormition Section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.

Corporate Reflection Days

The Sisters gathered at the Monastery a few weeks ago for Corporate Reflection Days. The weekend included meetings related to their life and future and some time to socialize and have fun. Pictured on the left are (left to right): Sr. Christopher, Sr. Bernarda, Sr. Janet, Sr. Margaret, Sr. Ruth (standing), Sr. Petronilla and Sr. Theodosia.

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Mount Macrina Manor – Renovation Project Update

Mount Macrina Manor is heading into the final phases of the renovation project. Phases Six and Seven were recently finished and have been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health divisions of Nursing and Life Safety.

Common Area OrchidResident Room OrchidOrchid Nurses Station 2






(Above) The Orchid resident hallway, located on the first floor was completed during Phase Six of the project. In addition to updated resident rooms, a new common area and new nursing care base were included in the plan.  At this point in the project, every resident room has been updated.

(Below) Phase Seven included the complete renovation of the Nutritional Services Department.  A tremendous amount of planning went into preparing for this difficult transition. The number one priority through this phase was to ensure the continuity of nutritional services provided to the manor residents.

The final portion of the eight phase project, which includes expanding the chapel and updating the manor entrance, will extend through the summer 2017.  At that point, the two-year, multi-million dollar renovation will be complete and residents can enjoy their beautiful new home.

Phases Snack Shop

Phase 7 Oaks Dining RoomPhases Snack Shop

Easter Greetings


Christ is Risen from the dead,

   by death He trampled Death

And to those in the tombs,

  He granted Life!

Let all pious men and women and all lovers of God rejoice in the splendor of this feast; let the wise servants blissfully enter into the joy of their Lord; let those who have borne the burden of the Fast now receive their pay, and those who have toiled since the first hour, let them now receive their due reward; let any who came after the third hour be grateful to join in the feast, and those who may have come after the sixth, let them not be afraid of being too late; for the Lord is gracious and He receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to him who comes on the eleventh hour as well as to him who has toiled since the first: yes, He has pity on the last and He serves the first; He rewards the one and praises the effort….

O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen and you are abolished. Christ is risen and the demons are cast down. Christ is risen and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen and life is freed. Christ is risen and the tomb is emptied of the dead: for Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the Leader and Reviver of those who had fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.
                             (Excerpts from Easter Homily of St. John Chrysostom)

The Sisters of St. Basil wish you a most blessed and radiant celebration of the Feast of the Resurrection. May the peace, joy and hope of the Resurrection reign in your hearts!

Lenten Reflection – April 11, 2017

bbea5710372e25a08a720b1fd0f7299dAs we enter into Holy and Great Week, we should realize how much Our Lord’s mercy is prevalent. Let us remember this fact and always rely on it. No matter how far we stray or transgress, the Father’s love will never reject us, but will embrace and transform us.

Unfortunately, it is not so uncommon for people to transgress the laws of God. It is easy to fall into sin. Most people realize that this is part of the human situation. Once this does happen, the question remains how do we approach our loving God to help us deal with our sin and despair? How does one face God after one has violated his laws? How do we feel when it gets to be too much and our sinfulness brings us to a time of despondency?

Just as a loving child needs the support of his/her parents when something is wrong, so does the person who has sinned need the loving support of God. How many of us believe that this support is there for us?

This concept must be understood by us in order to fully understand God’s mercy. His love for us will be the hand that brings us to Him and the pat on the shoulder that gives us the courage to move on. No matter how horrible the deed or how deep we fall, his love will never reject us.

Reflection Questions

  • In my most sinful, darkest hours, have I remembered to fall at the feet of Jesus and seek his mercy? When I have done this, has He not always generously forgiven and comforted my despairing soul?
  • Have I, in turn, sought to generously forgive others, even when they fail to seek my forgiveness?
  • As I draw closer to remembering the day of sublime mercy when Jesus died for us even though we were still in sin, have I forgiven those who have wronged me and sought forgiveness of those I have wronged?

How to Prepare a Traditional Paschal Basket

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These baskets have been prepared with many of the foods from which we’ve been fasting  during Great Lent.  Several foods are traditionally included in the basket: yeast bread, bitter herb, wine, cheese, meat, butter, salt, and a red egg. Each item in the basket has symbolic meaning.


Lenten Reflection – April 4, 2017

bbea5710372e25a08a720b1fd0f7299dGod has his particular designs for each person. He plans his designs before each one is born. Because of free will, given by God, it is up to each person to carry out God’s plan.

Humans do not always do in their lives what God calls them to do. Just as John the Baptist was chosen to prepare the people of Israel for Jesus coming on this earth, so God calls each person to fulfill a task for which He planned.

This week the Church reminds us of the great task God asked of Jesus – the redeeming of humankind through his death on the cross. All are reminded of the events of the last weeks and days before the death of Jesus.

Reflection Questions

  • What has God planned for me in my life?
  • Have I fulfilled his call? Or have I given some excuse or just said, “no”?
  • What can I learn from John the Baptist, who was called before he was born?
  • What can I learn from Jesus, Who was called before He was born?

By Sr. Margaret Mary Schima, OSB. From Journey Through the Great Fast. Published by Office of Religious Education, Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. November 2001.

Lenten Reflection – March 28, 2017

SacrificeAbrahamThe Great Fast has always been a time for me to reflect on my faith as I prepare for the glorious Resurrection of Christ. As I was reflecting on the readings for the fifth Friday of the Great Fast, I focused on Genesis 22:1-18: “The Testing of Abraham”. I believe that this period of meditation, prayer, fasting and giving is a good time for me to place myself in the hands of God – to trust God wholly and completely, just as Abraham did, as told in Genesis.

Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice his longed for son, his heir, Isaac, born to him and Sarah in their old age. God promised Abraham that through Isaac, all nations of the earth would find blessing. He would live to bear descendants of Abraham and Sarah, but God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son in a holocaust to prove his belief.

Scripture does not reveal the tortuous thoughts Abraham must have had when he was asked to sacrifice his son. With fire and knife, he led his son, who carried the wood for the holocaust, to the highest place chosen by God.

I think of the parallel to Jesus’ journey to the cross and his ultimate sacrifice for us. I try to imagine the powerful emotions that Abraham must have had leading Issac to his death.

As we come to the fifth week of the Great Fast, the promise of Resurrection is near. I think of Jesus who suffered for us, died for us and rose for us. I pray I can become the person I am trying to be – one who is journeying through this life to God. Abraham trusted that God would provide and truly believed his promise of heirs through Isaac. I pray I am able to place myself in the hands of God and to look for the signs that I am on the right path.

By Mary Ellen Dudick. From Journey Through the Great Fast. Published by Office of Religious Education, Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. November 2001.

Lenten Reflection – March 21, 2017

The Veneration of the Cross

The Veneration of the Cross

Day follows day, week follows week … Each one holding a bounty of blessings and graced hours. Each one likewise holds a measure of challenge, struggle and pain. As I face the dawn and promise of each new day, it is also important that I reflect upon the goodness of the God who offers it to me sanctified by His suffering and death.

This week I see placed before me the holy and life-giving Cross. It serves as a reminder that I was redeemed at a great price – a price that was endured because of unconditional love. In Matins I pray: “Your word upholds the universe, O Christ, and for me, You endured the buffeting, spitting and crucifixion; I praise the greatness of your love forever.” (Canon, Ode 8)

As I encounter each new day, recalling the love of Jesus can serve to build up my trust that all will be well. Perhaps everything will not fall into place according to my own plan, but trust in the goodness of the Lord enables me to let go of the need to control every facet of my life. I can then place the various events, questions, and problems into the hands of Jesus.

I know He loves me; I know all is his doing; I know I can look forward to the eternal life, which is promised to me through the death and Resurrection of Jesus.

Reflection Questions

  • Do I truly recognize and appreciate the graces and blessings that are mine each day?
  • As I look upon the Cross, am I mindful of the unconditional love that Jesus has for me?
  • Do I see the loving hand of Jesus in everyone and everything that is a part of my life?

By Sr. Ruth Plante, O.S.B.M. From Journey Through the Great Fast. Published by Office of Religious Education, Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. November 2001.