Rebecca, our choir mistress, accompanied by Orthodox friends from Toronto, recently shared an account of her pilgrimage to two monasteries in Arizona.

After a long flight from Toronto, and getting lost in the state capital, the party of pilgrims traveled to St. Paisius Monastery, east of Phoenix, a monastery made up largely of adult converts to Orthodox Christianity, who live a complete monastic life in the remote Arizona wilderness. Along with their monastic vocations, the monastery also offers an educational program for Orthodox young people, an rare island of Orthodox piety to assist families in the preparation of faithful young adults.

The group also traveled to the well-known St. Anthony's Monastery, a large community under the spiritual direction of Elder Ephraim of the Holy Mountain. Located in a remote section of the desert, the site was blessed at its founding when an unparalleled natural reservoir of water was found deep beneath the monastery property. Not only does the monastery now blossom with many spiritual fruits, the monastics tend one of the richest fruit and floral gardens in the Arizona desert, thanks to the prayers of the Mother of God and the saints. The pilgrims hope to return soon, and encourage others to undertake similar trips to the monasteries across North America.

"Ours must be an orthodoxy of the heart, not just the mind."

-St.Tikhon of Zadonsk