Of course, we couldn't go anywhere near Northern California without stopping to see the sisters at Our Lady of Kazan Skete in Santa Rosa, CA. They are truly precious.
The first time I visited the Skete was maybe ten years ago. My dear friend Nina and I went on a trip together. I remember my heart sank when we pulled up to the monastery situated in a neighborhood. I had only read about monasteries at that point, so in my mind I envisioned driving out into the middle of nowhere to find the monastery behind huge iron gates.
It was very late at night when we arrived, but we were greeted by a beautiful smile. Sister Patricia has since become a very dear friend to both Nina and me and her smile is still as warm and inviting as it was that first night. This was the first of many visits to Our Lady of Kazan Skete for both of us, and each time is more of a blessing than the last.
Although the monastery is in a neighborhood, when you step foot on to the grounds you truly leave the world. Mother Susanna, and the sisters, by the grace of God, have created a very holy place. As one visitor said while we were there, "I feel like I'm on an ark here". I know just how she felt.
We had the great blessing of being there for their Patronal feast day. Bishop Benjamin was in attendance along with other area clergy. Fr. Justin also served. It was a beautiful day with Liturgy and a huge feast afterward.
The pictures are of the procession around the monastery, some of the clergy and of our most beloved Mother Susanna with the girls. (I don't think I breathed once while the girls processed around the monastery THREE times with those eggs!)