by Catherine Lesage.
Last winter, we started having meetings about poustinia. People had been pushing us to do something in connection with poustinia, but we didn’t have a place for them to make one.
So I decided to gather together a few people who were interested. We met for about four months, February to May, and it quickly became known as "the poustinia group."
The format was simple. We read from the Russian translation of the book, Poustinia, and various themes evolved from our discussion and sharing. These themes led to what I call "homework." People left with a word or two to meditate on, to pray about, and to see how it fit into their daily lives.
Then in the following meeting, they shared what had come to them in their reflections.
We continued the meetings this fall, and this time the group consists of eight to ten people, a mixture of new faces and some from the original group.
The wonderful addition this year is that we now have a poustinia available for people.
We found an apartment a block away from our house. (A young woman from our parish, who left to join her husband in Europe, is renting us her place for the next year.) Gradually our friends are making use of this poustinia, and of course we of MH are also very grateful to have it for ourselves.
We also continue to help with the Alpha program, an invaluable tool for evangelization. As one of the religious Sisters exclaimed when introduced to it, "It is actually a catechism!"
We host the Alpha student group led by two of our friends, Lyuba and Paulina. We provide the hospitality of the heart as well as the space to meet and the meal which is part of the program. Lyuba and Paulina do a terrific job adding their personal testimonies to their talks.
It is beautiful to see how these students’ lives change as the program progresses. As a result of them, for example, one young girl is asking for baptism. And after the presentation of the ten commandments, another young girl was faced with making a life-changing decision.
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