The life of Saint Elizabeth Convent is the path of service to God and neighbor. Long before the birth of the convent, the Sisterhood named in dedication of the Reverend Saint Martyr Great Duchess Elizabeth gave spiritual nourishment to those sick at the Republican Clinical Psychiatric Hospital. The hospital contains 37 wards, the second of which is the Children’s Ward.
In 1999, the brothers and sisters of the convent began their outreach to children. In this way, gradually, the learning center “Country of Childhood” was established. At first the Children’s Ward of the hospital was closed, then the Lord wanted to enter – and all the barriers were removed and the doors were opened.
The birth of “Country of Childhood”
It is difficult for a child without warmth and trust. Like a bird in a cage, a wounded child’s soul is not at peace in this world, is choked by lack of understanding and becomes sick. A little person ceases to notice the boundaries between good and evil and may undertake a desperate act.
Children come to the hospital, mostly, from broken families, shelters, boarding homes and children’s homes. Some of them do not know how to read and write, to take care of themselves, do not remember the date of their birth or the names of their parents.
The second ward of the Republican Clinical Psychiatric Hospital receives children from 3 to 16 years of age suffering from various psychological disturbances and diseases of the central nervous system (epilepsy, delayed psychological development, enuresis, schizophrenia, depression). Treatment is offered to teenagers with suicidal tendencies, drug and alcohol addictions as well as computer addictions and vagrancy problems. These children with wounded souls can only be healed with love and faith in God.
Many children heard for the first time the words “God”, “repentence” and others in the “Country of Childhood”. Brothers and sisters constantly try to open a new world to the children – a world of kindness, patience and love; they try to drive into the soul of a young person the ability to see and appreciate beauty around oneself, a desire to be sincere. And the children’s souls are drawn to the light and acquire hope.
The life of “Country of Childhood”
At “Country of Childhood” the work is conducted in the form of cooperation with children, their parents and medical personnel. The doors of the schoolroom are open to all children from morning until evening. Every undertaking is started with a prayer. Children draw, sew, sing, learn Church Slavonic language, the history of their homeland, mathematics. They also learn how to be helpful and to care about one another.
The Awakening of a Soul
The Heavenly Protectress of the “Country of Childhood” is the Mother of God from Iver. The children like to pray before her icon. Every week a priest comes to the children and they have a chance to talk with him, to make confession and to receive communion. Unbaptized children may, with the permission of their parents, be baptized right in the ward. In this way, with God’s help, a soul is cleansed and a person gains strength for his struggle with sin.
In some a kernel of faith begins to grow. Sisters and brothers of the monastery correspond with the children and pray for them.
Children remember forever “Country of Childhood”, where their souls came into contact with God.
Our plans include repairing the children’s playground on the hospital grounds. We are in need of funds for this project.
Св. прмц. Елисавета