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A woman praying in our church (A grace-filled encounter) Pre-Covid experience



A woman praying in our church
(A grace-filled encounter)
Pre-Covid experience
As a guest master, one of my duties which I enjoy is to set up the books in the choir stalls for our guests. We have 44 places and on some weekends all of them are needed. Today I was setting up the books for Vespers when I noticed two women coming through the back gate into our church. We prefer to keep the gate closed outside of our services because we have a lot of people coming through.
So I walked up to the two women and asked if I could help them. One was elderly, in a headscarf and long dress; at first, I thought she might be Muslim. The other woman was around 40 I would guess. When I saw them I knew that they were both in some distress so I said yes they could visit beyond the gate and went back to doing the books.
The older woman stood a few feet in front of the pews, while her friend knelt down and began to pray. The elder was sighing and raising her hands in supplication, and then she bent down and placed her forehead on the church floor. As I continued my work I had a growing concern for both of them. So after about 30 minutes I finished the books and walked over to the younger of the two and asked how her friend was doing. I also offered to allow her to go somewhere more private to pray if she wanted to stay for a longer period of time. We have a very big church, so it is easy to find a place that the public can’t see. The woman answered that they will be leaving soon. She told me that her friend just got a 30-day eviction notice and came to thank God for all that has been given her. I guess she saw my concern, and smiled and said they will be alright; they were going to put her stuff into storage and get a smaller house.
Just then the Lady got up, she called her Lady P, and I went over to talk to her. She was a sweet person, a gentle smile, and very warm, loving, and kind eyes. She always wanted to come out to the Monastery she told me and pray and now she was very happy to be here.
I like to make cord bracelets, one of mine has ten knots, the other had 35, and both fit around my wrist. I asked her if I could give her a gift, and she said yes. So I gave her the larger prayer rope and the smaller one to her friend, to let them know that I and the community are praying for her. I told them about our food bank if in the future they need some assistance and she thanked me.
Now perhaps people can understand why I often mentioned how those who come here help us much more than we can help them. I was deeply touched by her faith, her trust, and most of all her thankfulness. Yes, we receive a great deal from the God-centered, holy, people who come here.
This happened of course pre-covid, maybe about 5 years ago.—Br. MD



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