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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.


Sr. Martha E.Swiftly and unexpectedly, Sister Martha Elizabeth Moyta (formerly Sister Jerome) was taken to her heavenly home in the early evening of Monday, March 11, 2019. She had just attended the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts but did not show up for supper. Someone went to check on her, and it was evident that the Lord called her to Himself. How blessed for her to appear at the heavenly gates fortified by the Eucharist and the Holy Anointing!

Sister Martha was born in Pittsburgh, PA, the only daughter of the late John and Elizabeth (Tirpak) Moyta. She entered the Sisters of St. Basil in Uniontown on August 1, 1945 from Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church on Pittsburgh’s Northside. Sister Martha made her Final Profession of Vows on August 28, 1953 in the presence of the late Bishop Daniel Ivancho.

With her 26 years of teaching experience, she became a member of the organizing team for the Religious Education Office in the Pittsburgh Archeparchy. In this capacity, Sister Martha was a contributor to the God With Us Series for the Eastern Christian Formation program. Both working on the Series and giving workshops were part of Sister Martha’s expertise. After serving in the Pittsburgh Archeparchy, Sister Martha then took these same talents to the Eparchy of Parma where she served for six years before moving into Pastoral Ministry at St. Therese Church in St. Petersburg, FL. Following 17 years of ministry there, Sister Martha returned to the monastery where she was fondly referred to as “Mother Martha.”

Even though her years of active ministry ended, Sister Martha was always ready to help in any way she could, and in this, she was a true Martha. Visitors to the Gift Shop where she helped part time could be sure of a warm welcome from her.  Probably her best-loved ministry was to prepare and coordinate lodging on the grounds for the Annual Pilgrimage. For her this was a labor of love and a way to honor Our Mother of Perpetual Help by graciously welcoming the pilgrims. Adding a touch of beauty to the simple accommodations was her hallmark, both there and in the monastery. In hearing about her passing, one of the Sisters noted, “heaven will now be decorated, cleaned and rearranged.”

Sister Martha was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers Nicholas, John, Edward and Daniel. In addition to her Sisters in community, she is survived by her devoted nieces and nephews and their families. Relatives and friends will be received at the Monastery Chapel on Friday, March 15 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 by Archbishop William C. Skurla on Saturday, March 16 at 10:30 am. Interment will follow in the Dormition Section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.

Donald R. Crawford Funeral Home. Hopwood, is in charge of arrangements.











O Lord and Master of my life,

keep from me the spirit of indifference

and discouragement,

lust of power and idle chatter.

Instead, grant to me, Your servant,

the spirit of wholeness of being,

humble-mindedness, patience, and love.

O Lord and King,

grant me the grace to be aware of my sins

and not to judge my brothers and sisters;

for You are blessed, now and ever and forever.



Register for Lenten Prayer Morning


Presenter: Rev. Don Bolls
Saturday, March 23, 2019 (Registration due: March 19)

9:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  Includes Lunch
Offering: $35 
The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered along with a conference and prayer service.
To register, please call the House of Prayer at 724-438-7149.



+Sr. Gertrude 2aVery peacefully, as she had always wanted, +Sister Gertrude (Irene) Martin moved from the earthly realm to the heavenly in the early evening of Wed., Nov. 28, 2018. There, she was surely welcomed by the Lord she served with fidelity and enthusiasm for 75 years.

Sr. Gertrude was born in Homestead, Pa., the daughter of the late Nicholas and Ann (Kopas) Martin, the middle child of thirteen siblings. She entered the community from St. John the Baptist Cathedral Parish in Homestead on October 3, 1943. Sr. Gertrude made her Final Profession of Vows on August 19, 1951 in the presence of the late Rev. John Kocisko.

Her teaching apostolate spanned 33 years, 12 of which she also served as principal. Still in the teaching apostolate, she additionally served as a member of the Provincial Council for five years. For another six years, Sr. Gertrude ably administered St. Basil’s Home for Women. A brief return to teaching took her to Trenton, N.J. before she returned to the monastery, Sister’s energetic nature and varied talents then led her to be assigned as the manager of the Religious Gift Shop. At the Gift Shop, she was a familiar face for over ten years, tending to all aspects of this special ministry of the Sisters. It was a ministry from which it was hard for her to take leave, since she especially enjoyed being there.

In 2005, Sister retired from active ministry, but she busied herself at the monastery with various projects, since she was not one to sit still and watch the world go by. At the monastery, she will be especially remembered for directing the Christmas decorating throughout the house. Even now, as soon as that season rolls around, her name is invariably mentioned.

Each year, the National Religious Retirement Office publishes a poster to become the basis of their campaign materials.  They select Priests and Sisters whose faces are a reminder of the more than 35,000 religious past the age of 70 years living in the United States.  For the 2009 poster, Sr. Gertrude was one of our three Sisters to be chosen. One could not help but be attracted by those deep set blue eyes and infectious smile, the face of a happy Sister.

Sr. Gertrude was preceded in death by her parents, and 11 of her siblings; her brothers Nicholas, John, Edward, Raymond, Donald, Elmer and Clifford; and her sisters

Ann Kasko, Pauline Pushcar, Mary Baka, and Eleanor Stellute. In addition to her Sisters in community, she is survived by her brother George Martin, her sister Verna Savko, and many devoted nieces and nephews and their families.

Relatives and friends will be received at the Monastery Chapel on Monday, December 3 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 by Archbishop William C. Skurla on Tuesday, December 4, at 10:30 am. Interment will follow in the Dormition Section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.

Donald R. Crawford Funeral Home. Hopwood, is in charge of arrangements.

84th Pilgrimage Thank You

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GLORY TO JESUS CHRIST!                                             Pilgrimage 2018

Dear Friends,

Every Pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help seems to take on a special memory of its own.  This 84th pilgrimage was no exception.  In the midst of all the turmoil that has continued to bombard us on all sides, there was a palpable atmosphere of peace which seemed to pervade the entire Mount.  Yes, hearts were heavy with news of political chaos, church struggles, violence in our cities and towns, and sufferings and death brought on by all sort of addictions.  Yet, the pilgrims who came seemed to bask in the love of Mary, Hope of All Generations.

We, the Sisters, continue to share the stories of our dear pilgrims, admiring their courage, determination and loving support. We are truly humbled by their continued faith.  So many made the sacrifices of time and treasure to come from distant places with the expectation of being spiritually nourished.  Others came from nearby with children and grandchildren hoping to share this time and tradition with new generations.

All who came played a significant part in making this pilgrimage a memorable and spiritual uplifting event. From the youngest baby pilgrim to the oldest, the children who make the Children’s Procession such a touching sight, the numerous pilgrims patiently standing in line to receive the Mystery of Reconciliation, our teenagers and young adults; all made the pilgrimage a mosaic of all generations. We Sisters are truly grateful for such vibrant expressions of faith.

Prayer is the greatest gift that we can offer, and you can be assured that our prayers will accompany you every day.  May Our Lady of Perpetual Help watch over you, keep you in her loving care, lead you back to this holy Mount for pilgrimage 2019.


With our love, prayers, and sincere gratitude,

Sister Ruth and the Sisters of St. Basil


Sr.  Monica, Sr. Christoper and Sr. Agnes celebrate their Jubilees. Absent from the photo is Sr. Gertrude.

Sr. Monica, Sr. Christoper and Sr. Agnes celebrate their Jubilees. Absent from the photo is Sr. Gertrude.

Amidst the flurry of activities and the full schedule planned for the annual Community Days at Mount St. Macrina, there is always time to celebrate. This summer four Sisters joyfully marked significant milestones in their lives as Sisters of St. Basil. As the second oldest member of the community, Sr. Gertrude Martin celebrated the Diamond Anniversary of her religious life.

Since Sr. Gertrude resides at the Manor, the Sisters joined her in a celebration on the Monday afternoon of Community Days. After singing two odes of the Akathist to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a social was held in the Manor’s Oaks Dining Room where Sr. Gertrude received the congratulations, gifts and well-wishes of the Sisters.

Tuesday afternoon found the Sisters gathered in the Chapel for a Divine Liturgy of Thanksgiving offered by the Monastery Chaplain Rev. Peter Leigh for all the Jubilarians. Besides Sr. Gertrude, Sr. Christopher Malcovsky observed her 70th Anniversary, and Sr. Monica Husovich and Sr. Agnes Herbenick observed their 60th Anniversary.  From the beginning processional to the final singing of “God grant you many years” the Divine Liturgy was an inspiration as all raised their voices in thanksgiving for the gift of each Sister Jubilarians’ vocation.

Brief biographies of the Jubilarians follow.

Sister Gertrude (Irene) Martin, OSBM 75th Anniversary

Sr. Gertrude entered the Community from St. John the Cathedral Parish, Munhall, Pa. She spent 33 years molding young minds and morals as a teacher mostly in the primary grades in parish schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Indiana. Her education apostolate included 12 years as principal. Sister holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Misericordia College, Dallas, Pa.

From 1975 through 1980, while continuing to teach, Sister was a member of the Provincial Council. During the latter half of this term, she moved from teaching to serve as assistant house director at the monastery. Sr. Gertrude was then assigned as administrator of St. Basil’s Home from 1980 through 1986. A brief return to teaching took her to St. Mary Assumption Church, Trenton, N.J., where she spent three years. Sr. Gertrude was a familiar face as the manager of the Religious Gift Shop at Mount St. Macrina for a good number of years. Presently, she resides at Mount Macrina Manor.

70th Anniversary

Sister Christopher Malcovsky entered the community from St. Mary’s, Nesquehoning, Pa.

Her beginning years were spent as a teacher and principal. She then served as Motherhouse Superior and then she was elected as Provincial Superior for two terms. After a sabbatical year, Sr. Christopher served in various capacities, assisting with the organizational work in Eparchy of Van Nuys, and helping at Mt. Macrina Manor and the House of Prayer. In 1983, Sister was elected as General Superior, serving in Rome for six years.

From 1991 until 2008, Sister Christopher served in the Eparchy of Van Nuys as Pastoral Associate, first at the Cathedral of St. Mary’s in Van Nuys, Calif., and then at St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral, Phoenix, Arizona. Additionally, she also managed the apartment complex at St. Stephen’s. Presently, Sr. Christopher resides at the Monastery; she assists part-time in the Religious Gift Shop and, otherwise, generously offers her services wherever needed.

60th Anniversary

Sister Monica Husovich entered the Sisters of St. Basil from St. Mary’s in Freeland, Pa. She served as both teacher and principal in parish school principally in Pennsylvania, but also in Indiana and Ohio. Sr. Monica also taught at Byzantine Catholic High School in Parma, Ohio. While teaching in northeastern Pennsylvania, she served as a member of the Catechetical Board for the Eparchy of Passaic. Sr. Monica then served on the staff of Mt. Macrina Manor, first in the business office, and later as Admissions and Resident Coordinator. Following her retirement from the Manor, Sr. Monica kept busy taking the Monastery Sisters for their appointments as needed; she also faithfully takes care of posting the prayer requests sent to the community.

Sister Agnes Herbenick came to the community from St. John’s in Lyndora, Pa. Her principal ministry has been in the educational field, serving as a teacher in parish schools in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey and Ohio. For 25 years, she guided eighth graders at St. Mary’s School in Cleveland, Ohio. Among Sr. Agnes’ other assignments were in catechetical ministry in Binghamton, N.Y.; postulant directress for the community, and a member of the Mt. Macrina Manor Board of Directors. After retiring from the teaching ministry, Sr. Agnes returned to the Monastery, where today, she serves as sacristan. In addition, she works part-time in pastoral ministry at Mt. Macrina Manor.

As one can see from reading just these capsule pieces of information, each of the Jubilarians has actively served the Church in a variety of ways, each Sister giving witness to the priority God has in her life. Not able to be enumerated or even noted are, surely, the countless lives which have been touched by personal contact with these Sister Jubilarians. For all of these Sisters, and for the giftedness with which the community has been enriched and blessed, it was with heartfelt gratitude, that “God grant them many years” was sung as we joined together for a celebratory meal following the Divine Liturgy.