We are a contemplative monastery of Eastern Orthodox nuns, under the aegis of the Orthodox Church in America. Our monastery is under the patronage of Our Lady of the Sign, a symbol of the entire praying church. We consider ourselves
ecumenical in terms of our religious backgrounds, experience, and understanding. The community began by a group of Poor Clare nuns under the Roman Catholic Church. From our beginning here, we followed the Eastern Rite in our liturgical
lives, feeling most at home with an Eastern bent to our spirituality. We embrace fully the Eastern Orthodox emphasis on the goodness and inherent beauty of creation and God’s indwelling Spirit in everything. Our ongoing prayer is that the division between the churches may one day truly be healed.
Our primary focus is to work continually to transform ourselves in the light of the Gospel. To follow the path that leads us to become the person God wants us to be, we have chosen to live this life together. We strive for a balance in common
and private prayer, and work that is simply the work of daily living. The work of producing the cheesecakes in our bakery helps to support us and the upkeep of our monastery and grounds. Life in the monastery allows for reflection, relaxation, and ongoing growth. Our monastery, outside of a small village in eastern New York State, is situated on a rolling hillside that offers a sense of solitude without enclosed cloister. Hospitality is an important expression of our monastic life and women of diverse Christian faiths find time with us to be restorative and renewing in their journeys. Spiritual companioning, both formally and informally through our ongoing relationships, is an essential expression of the fruit of our contemplative life. Creative artistic expression finds outlets in our gardening, icon painting, vestment making, writing, and cooking. With all these elements, we find it is a rich and fulfilling life.
Our founding in 1969 was with the ideal of living out the values of monastic life in a way that was fitting in contemporary
American culture. Today this is a delicate line to walk which requires ongoing discernment. We strive to retain those pieces of the earliest tradition which we feel are essential to supporting our spiritual growth and to let go of other pieces which have long tied monastics to the culture of medieval Europe and near eastern cultures. We have a rich liturgy with services shared with the monks, which are sung and chanted in English and inclusive language. Rather than using a strict
translation of ancient texts, we work at making the language of our prayers and hymns accessible to contemporary American
understanding while maintaining a sense of reverence and dignity. We wear Riassas (monastic choir robes) over our
regular clothes for liturgical services.
As a small community, there is an emphasis on consensus in governance under the leadership of our elected prioress. This
is very much part of the tension of individuality and shared communal life that we strive to hold in light of ongoing
discernment. While maintaining our autonomy as a monastic community, a truly unique character of our monastic life is
the interrelatedness of our community with that of monks and of married companions.