All of us here at Signature feel like we have been blessed with coming to know the gracious Mother Seraphima who is the head of the Holy Nativity Convent (link: http://holynativityconvent.com/) in Brookline, MA. She and the other sisters have become so close to all of us regardless of our own personal faith or even if we are not so religious. Having them in our corner is something that makes us all feel loved.
Time after time they have offered their prayers and their kindnesses never cease to astonish all the folks here. They have sent us items they sell and make which we all enjoy—especially knowing it is from them. We all know that they are always ready to offer support when we have sad times and joyful celebration when things go well.
She has a very different life than anyone I have ever known. As a life long Lutheran we don’t have nuns. Even my Catholic friends have not had much contact with women who choose the cloistered life. Mother Seraphima is always willing to answer questions about the life she and the others live.
It is amazing that she also is an unbelievable “executive” who has linked the Convent to the outside world in order for them to be self-supporting. The charitable knitting they do is always a great example for what we all might want to do to help others.
I am not sure what I would have expected in the lives of women who have made this sort of life-long commitment to the religious life but now knowing Mother Seraphima and others, like the funny and clever Mother Pelagia, I know that you will enjoy taking a peak into their world.
1. Tell us about Holy Nativity Convent and how long you have lived there?
I entered the convent in 1971 just a few months before I turned 21, as a new convert to the Greek Orthodox Church. The convent was in its first years of formation. We are now a small community of 18 sisters, and for the most part, our convent is self-supporting. We support ourselves with our handicrafts, which consist of: making 100% pure beeswax candles, sewing vestments for Orthodox churches, painting Byzantine icons and making icons, crosses, cards and quotation plaques on the laser-engraver machine. And of late, due to an extension we put on we’ve been able to re-establish our craft room on a permanent basis – this room is set up with our knitting needles (of course our favorites being our “Sigs”), yarn, several spinning wheels and looms and carders. And of late, Mother Macrina (one of our iconographers) has gotten very involved in making batts for spinning, and has established an Etsy shop (InglenookFibers) (link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/inglenookfibers) which has also been contributing to our support. Basically the knitting and woven things we make are given to charitable causes, or are gifts to friends and benefactors.
The Convent last winter
We have a small house-chapel where we gather together for our services several times a day, and a good part of our day and evening are devoted to these communal services. Plus, the sisters also say their private prayers in their rooms. We also gather together in our dining room for communal meals, at which time the lives of the Saints of the day are read, or homilies on a current feast. We also have some lovely flower gardens to provide flowers for our chapel, and a moderate sized vegetable garden … We also have 6 cats, who love to spend their time in the craft room – but are really well-behaved when it comes to not unwinding balls of yarn