Archive for February, 2012

“Let this cry be infinitely abundant.”

St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

St. Ignatius Brianchaninov’s     concluding words from the book

On the Prayer of Jesus:

“By our attentive prayer let us seek to turn the gaze of our mind to ourselves so that we discover within ourselves our sinfulness. When we discover it, let us stand mentally before our Lord Jesus Christ in the company of the lepers, the blind, the deaf, the lame, the paralyzed, the possessed; and let us begin our mournful cry of prayer before Him from the poverty of our spirit and from a heart crushed with sorrow for our sinfulness.

Let this cry be infinitely abundant.  . . . .

. . . . let it be clothed in the brief but meaningful prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Amen. “

from On the Prayer of Jesus, from the Ascetic Essays of Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov, translated by Father Lazarus, forward by Bishop       Kallistos Ware. New Seeds: Boston & London, 2006. pp. `139-40.

The Book: 

Chapter One in audio:

On Bishop Ignatius: 

For more on the Jesus Prayer: 

icon from 

Wolf Wolfensberger † Feb. 27, 2011

Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger,

whose valuable insights in regard to the prophetic significance of the lives of persons with developmental disability have been posted and reposted on this weblog, departed this life a year ago.

May the Lord remember him in His Kingdom.

A few sites, beginning with the Arms Open Wide post mentioned, which address Dr. Wolfensberger’s legacy:

Image from

St. Medard of Noyon †545

  St. Medard, Bishop of Noyon, France, is counted as an intercessor for persons with mental illness. A very godly child, he was, reluctantly, ordained a bishop at age 33. He was, apparently, a very zealous and popular bishop.

But there are few details known of his life. He is known for having been protected under the wings of an eagle during a rainstorm as a child. He is commonly depicted as laughing, with mouth wide open.

If I may be so bold to speculate as to why he is counted as an intercessor for people with mental illness, I wonder if his being sheltered from the elements as a child relates him to the fools for Christ who, feigning madness, live in the open, and, like Christ, have no place to lay their head, as well as to all who, for true lack of mental health, are homeless.

Sources: &

Source of picture: 

Convent of St. Martyr Grand Princess Elizabeth, 2: The Boarding Homes

Детское отделение (Children's Department)

  Boarding Home for Adults:

…. The inhabitants of the boarding house learn and sing prayers with sisters and once a week pray the akathist to Blessed St. Xenia of St. Petersburg – you will not find that anywhere else. God’s grace is very much felt in the boarding house and in a way, it envelopes this mournful place. The eyes of the patients are amazing after Communion – they contain a warmth not of this world. Seeing this, you can believe in the closeness of God. There is also a Sunday school at the boarding house. ….

Boarding Home for Mentally Handicapped Children
…. In the boarding home there is a division for bedridden children where there are some little martyrs. Time has stopped for them. It is painful to view their suffering, but one’s heart senses that their pure souls will eternally be with God, where all sickness, sighing and sorrow have fled.  ….

Working with these children, the sisters and brothers themselves become more simple and sincere.

On feast days prayer services are offered at the boarding house and skits and plays are performed for the children.

The sisters pray that a small church may be built on the territory of the boarding house dedicated to St. Nektarius, the Greek healer and wonderworker. ….

– A Concert for the Young Patients of the Boarding Home for Children
“A Step Towards” Festival
November 22, 2010 – The First Liturgy in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs
Pascha in the boarding home for children

Children from the boarding home for mentally and physically challenged children located in Novinki prepared a Paschal performance by April 28. The children performed short sketches together with sisters of mercy of Saint Elisabeth Convent and actor Alexander Zhdanovich. Their friends and the medical staff had a delightful hour enjoying the show.

If you wish to get a glimpse of the joyful atmosphere of the feast at the boarding home, you are welcome to see a photo report by Nun Helena (Strashnova).

St. Valentine †259

St. Valentine

  St. Valentine was a priest in Rome who was martyred in the year 259 A.D. He had defied Emperor Claudius’ decree that no marriages were to take place (so young men would be free for a war effort) and was found out and arrested. Claudius, after hearing that St. Valentine was making converts in prison, after a blind girl was healed through his prayers, had him tortured, beaten, and beheaded. He is counted as an intercessor for persons with epilepsy. (Personally, though, given the fact that he healed a blind girl in prison, I would ask his intercessions if I had visual impairments.)



Mary Pier, the daughter of my Parish Priest, on St. Valentine’s Day:

Source of icon:

Convent of St. Martyr Grand Princess Elizabeth 1: The Hospitals

  So much is going on there; so this is just the first installment.

In addition to their primary focus on prayer, the mothers and fathers at this monastery care for people who are hurting, sick and disabled. The most needy are at their psychiatric units (one for adults and another for children) and their tuberculosis ward. Please access the online sites listed below and hear their descriptions of these ministries. I cannot do them justice.

Republican Clinical Psychiatric Hospital(a healing center for spiritually sick individuals)
2nd ward of the Republican Clinical Psychiatric Hospital (for children) 

St. Philomena †

inscription on her tomb

  St. Philomena was a young woman who was martyred for Christ long ago. Her tomb and relics were discovered in 1802 in the catacombs of Rome. In 1805 her relics were enshrined in a Roman Catholic Church in the village of Mugnano, near Naples, Italy. Miracles and answers to prayer began to occur for those who asked the Holy Martyr Philomena’s intercessions. She is counted as an intercessor for persons with mental illness, bodily ills, prisoners, lost causes, and many other concerns.

 Sources: &

Source of image of inscription: 



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