Calistoga Pilgrimage - 11/05/22

Thanks be to God, our parish pilgrimage to the Holy Assumption Monastery in Calistoga was a great success! While some participants drove themselves, the majority met at St Herman’s early Saturday morning and boarded a charter bus which drove us up to the heart of the beautiful wine country and to the gates of the monastery of the Holy Assumption in Calistoga. Several of us shared the sense of peace which descended upon us the moment we set foot into the monastery grounds. The nuns of the monastery were so warm and hospitable, and it was abundantly clear how much work they have put into making their monastery a little oasis of calm and beauty and grace. We began our day with prayer in their beautiful church – Sixth Hour and a Panakhida. Following the service, we gathered in the trapeza for a wonderful lunch. While we ate, the abbess, Mother Melania, read a couple of children’s stories for us – both were rich with spiritual lessons. Following the lunch, Mother Melania gave us a talk – providing some history of their community and then offering some spiritual instruction. Her manner of speaking was refreshingly simple, yet the meaning and challenge of what she presented to us was significant in helping us to tame our willfulness and to humble ourselves. Following the talks, we were treated to a tour of the church and monastery grounds – including the koi pond, apiary, and incredible gardens. We all left with a sense of spiritual refreshment and renewal. Many thanks to Rossi Gospodinova for all of her efforts in initiating this pilgrimage and working to make it such a success.