St. Paisius is a women's monastic community some two and a half hours east of Tucson or about three and a half hours southeast of Phoenix. It is located off of a dirt road south of the town of Safford. In other words, it is not easy to reach. I cannot visit frequently -- the last time I came was two years ago with my mother, then a few years before then with Mr. Wonderful. I never quite know what I will find as a result of a visit. But I do know that the journey, the visit, and the imprint it leaves are all worth any effort.
|Looking into the church from a side chapel|
|Beeswax tapers made by the nuns|
|The new Iconostasis|
Even though my visit was brief, just over 24 hours, it seemed long. More accurately, it seemed that time was not relevant. I did not miss any of my electronic gadgets like my mobile phone [forgotten at home] or my laptop [kept turned off], which occupy many daytime moments. Without the usual trappings of quotidian life, it seemed there was more than enough time for everything.
A few more photos ...
The design of the floor medallions in the church comes from the star motifs often included in the veil of the Theotokos [i.e., Virgin Mary] in icons portraying Her.
|Allée of dormant pomegranates|
|The work never ends ...|
P.P.S. There is silence during communal mealtimes. While the nuns and guests are eating, one of the sisters reads aloud. At an certain point, the Abbess rings a bell indicating that the reading should come to an end, at which point she may comment about the reading or other significant matters.