Monday, September 12, 2016

HOCNA convent battling insalubrious mold

STANWOOD, WA (King5) They spend their days in solemn worship and quiet contemplation. Their focus is steadfastly on serving their Savior.

“The most important thing in the world to us is to lead a quiet life dedicated to prayer,” said Mother Thecla.

Recently, however, that focus has been increasingly interrupted with calls from contractors about a problem that’s proving quite costly.

“It's definitely disrupted our life quite a bit,” said Mother Thecla.

That is an understatement of biblical proportions.

After 18 years at the humble home that serves as their Stanwood convent, the sisters of the Convent of the Meeting of the Lord have discovered the place is contaminated with toxic mold.

The sisters have gotten sick. Four of them have had to move out. One now sleeps in a camper, another in an outbuilding.

The Orthodox Christians eek out an ascetic existence by making and selling beeswax candles. Health problems, however, have forced them to essentially shutter their shop for the past year. With little to no income the convent is in crisis.

The cost to repair the convent is estimated at anywhere between $10,000 and $30,000. Devoted to charity for others, the sisters refuse to ask anyone for help.

So the community is doing it for them.

“Pray hard, work hard, trust God. That's what I hear all the time from the sisters,” said neighbor Karen Lien.

Lien started a Go Fund Me page for the nuns.

“We had a yard sale to raise money for them and they kept giving things away,” said Lien. “They are so selfless! I think it's good that they see it's reciprocal. They are here for their community and the rest of the community is here for them, too.”

Go Fund Me is something none of the nuns had even heard of, but are now eternally grateful for.

While focused on fixing their current situation, the sisters said they would one day like to move into a healthier and more manageable property somewhere in Stanwood.

For now they are simply faithful that their prayers will be answered.

“God always makes things work out,” said Mother Thecla.

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