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Lenten Reflection – March 14, 2017

961089f929c7f591c54e28cc132f20a3Each time we participate in Vespers or the Presanctified Liturgy, there is a point when a dramatic event takes place. After singing the stichera (or propers) of the day with Psalm 140, the clergy process around the altar and through the iconostasis, similar to the entrance with the Gospel during the Divine Liturgy. After proclaiming “Wisdom! Be attentive!” the people sing the Hymn of the Evening – “O Joyful Light!” – and the altar, the people and the entire church are incensed.

This lighting of the lamps is in sharp contrast to the darkening of the world around us as the sun drops below the horizon and evening comes. Even though the visible sun is slowly waning, we welcome Christ into the world to keep the spiritual light shining in our lives.

We received the light at our baptism and it has grown within us as we discovered the faith. We all have the responsibility to share that light with the world and to make Christ present in the world. The light of Christ that we all carry is manifest or realized by the way we live our life each day. The kindness we share with others around us, those we meet on the street or in the shopping mall, or even those with whom we might contact through e-mail, is the true light of Christ spreading throughout the world. Our behavior demonstrates the fact that we are Christians and that we follow the teachings of our Lord and Savior.

Let us all be more diligent in our daily life to let the light of Christ shine through us into the world just as the the lights shine more brightly in church when we sing “O Joyful Light!”

Reflection Questions

  • How do we let the light of Christ shine in us to others with whom we interact every day?
  • Have we learned to be true Christians and live according to his commandments and teachings?
  • Do we live the Gospel of Jesus Christ each day, or only on Sundays when we come to church?

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

Lenten Reflection – March 7, 2017


bbea5710372e25a08a720b1fd0f7299dEvery year during the season of the Great Fast we pause to reflect on where we are in our life’s journey and where we want to be. Over and over, all the prayers and readings remind us to abstain from evil, close the door to sin, go beyond earthly passions and become more Christlike. One of the greatest evils which we are continually warned against in the penitential prayer of St. Ephrem, is the sin of idle talk.

What is idle talk? It is the wickedness of words devoid of meaning and purpose. The gospels say “men will render account for every careless word they utter.” (Matthew 12:36)

The ability to think and speak – to express ourselves – is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. It is what sets us apart from plants and animals. It is what shows us to be made in the image and likeness of God. God calls Himself “the Word”, saying in the Gospel “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God”. (John 1:1)

With words we can give thanks, create goodness, beauty and wisdom. But these same words can curse, gossip, lie and condemn. The same tongue that sings praises to God can also criticize and blaspheme.

Reflection Questions

  • Have I thought or said angry words or foul words?
  • Have I spread rumors or gossiped in thought or word?
  • Have I ridiculed people in thought, word or action? Have I mocked others in a harmful way? Have I insulted anyone?

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


With joy let us enter the beginning of the Fast

The Sisters of St. Basil wish all of our Associates, readers, benefactors and  friends a prayerful and fruitful Lenten season.  May you be inspired by the words of St. Basil:

“True fasting lies in rejecting evil, holding one’s tongue, suppressing one’s hatred and banishing one’s lust, evil words, lying and betrayal of vows.” – St. Basil

Read Pope Francis’ 2017 Lenten message >>

Support the Sisters on Amazon


During this Christmas season and all year, when you shop online at, Amazon will donate to the Sisters of St. Basil the Great. Simply go to , create an Amazon Smile account (you can use your existing Amazon account) and select the “Sisters of St. Basil the Great” as your beneficiary. You’ll find the exact same prices, selection and shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to the Sisters.

Hilton Garden Inn Offers Special 2017 Rate for Pilgrimage

gi_exterior001_698x390_fittoboxsmalldimension_centerWe have secured a special group rate at the Hilton Garden Inn in Uniontown from Thursday, 8/31/2017 through and Tuesday, 9/5/2017.

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

The special rate is $129.00/night, which includes a 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. ** see below for additional info


Please make your reservations using one of the following methods:

  • Use the Hilton Garden Inn Uniontown Website


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).



Obituary: Sr. Stephanie Bavol

sr-stephanieSr. Stephanie (Elizabeth) Bavol quietly and peaceful entered the fullness of life on Mon., Oct. 17. After retiring from active ministry due to health issues, Sr. Stephanie resided at Mt. Macrina Manor for the past eight years. Her cheerful countenance and acceptance of this change in her life was an inspiration to all who cared for her. She never failed to greet one with a smile and the question, “So how are you doing?”

Sister Stephanie was born in Trenton, N.J., the daughter of the late John and Susan (Vasilko) Bavol. In 1941, she entered the Sisters of St. Basil from St. Mary’s Church, Trenton, N.J. Having made the decision to offer her life in service to God at the early age of 16, she remained faithful to this call for 76 years.

Sr. Stephanie’s life in ministry ranged from being prefect of boys and girls in St. Nicholas Orphanage, to prefect at Mt. St. Macrina Academy, to being a teacher in the primary grades for over 25 years in the various places where the Sisters served. Of her last and most beloved ministry, that of iconography she wrote, “My last apostolate which is iconography—is the most prayerful and peaceful. I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide and help me.” Sr. Stephanie, in fact, has the distinction of being the first iconographer in the community.

Following upon her degree in education and certification in Elementary Education and Art from Marywood College, she was privileged to pursue her study in art under Master Iconographer, Philip Zimmerman, with whom she also conducted workshops both in this country and abroad. Over the years, Sr. Stephanie had been commissioned to write several icons for special occasions, one of which was presented to Pope St. John Paul II by the late Archbishop Judson Procyk as a token of esteem and gratitude. Through prayer and inspiration, Sister Stephanie also wrote an icon depicting the Call of the Apostles which became the official Vocation Icon of the Eparchy of Passaic at the time. These and many other commissioned icons and the several which grace the walls of the monastery near the chapel are testimony to Sister’s gifts and God-given talents.

Sr. Stephanie was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Mary Bavol, Ann Vanisko, and Margaret Mattaliano; and her brothers John and Michael Bavol. In addition to her members in community, she is survived by her cherished sister, Sr. Theresa, also a member of the Sisters of St. Basil, and many devoted nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends were received at the Monastery Chapel on Thurs., Oct. 20 and the Parastas Service was sung that evening. The Funeral Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Friday morning, Oct. 21, in the Monastery Chapel. Interment followed in the Dormition Section of Mount Macrina Cemetery.