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December, 2017
Volume 43, Number 4
  
20 September 2011
Greg Kandra




Near Tibilisi, Georgia, Mother Ephemia plays with a dog belonging to the St. Tornike of Athos Monastery. (photo: Justyna Mielnikiewicz)

In 2007, journalist Paul Rimple visited the nuns carving out Alternative Lifestyles in Georgia:

Joining a monastery or convent is an arduous process, which discourages the casually interested or the naïve and gullible. “First a woman must agree to live by the monastery’s rules,” said Mother Ephemia, abbess of St. Tornike of Athos Monastery in Mtskheta. “She pledges obedience. Then she goes through a period of character evaluation.”

Each night, Mother Ephemia meets with members of the community in an examination of conscience that is “more of a dialogue and soul-sharing” experience, she said. The informal meeting “helps me know at what stage of development each sister is in.”

The process can take as little as five months or as long as 15 years — there is no set period. But three years is typical, Father Giorgi said.

“Generally, the better educated the woman and her family are, the easier the process is,” Mother Ephemia said. “But modesty in every aspect is absolutely necessary. There is no room for pride.”

But, as the picture shows, there is room for pets. Read more at this link.



Tags: Monastery Vocations (religious)