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8/30/13

The Scourge Cycle: Miracles

In the summer of 2011, during my stay in Romania, I went through a period of spiritual anguish thanks to a jerk. I cursed him and the dame with whom he sneaked behind my back. But my cursing them didn’t help me at all. I then sought solace and forgetfulness. To expedite the process, I endeavored to go on a pilgrimage, since I saw posters plastered on city walls announcing one that weekend. I thought that if Orthodoxy wouldn’t help, maybe the beauty of the Romanian landscape would. And I was curious to see what would happen if I surrounded myself with believers. I walked the mountain paths leading to hermitages and caves of hermits with my fellow pilgrims, I slept in communal bedrooms. I remember fondly how loudly were snoring the blessed tired faithful ones.
Most fondly I remember Silvia, the organizer, a lively, beautiful and elegant woman, with a laughter like tiny bells that for me was more healing than the whole trip.
The names are fictitious because she asked me to avoid publicity for her spiritual endeavor.


I’ve wondered when you said that much of your life is made of miracles and pilgrimages, and you’ve told me about a few miracles.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! My life without God wouldn’t exist. In God I trust and God forbid I should get to live without God. So I can say that my life, starting with my youth, I got married at 17, was very unhappy. Fate gave me a man who drinks, he brought upon me so much unhappiness, and I greatly took refuge in fasting and prayers, in the Divine Power. Only in God I found peace, only in God I found consolation.
You’ve started so young?
Yes, and I’d barely finish one fast and I’d start another one, that’s how I lived. Like, always on Fridays, and also other fast after fast, whichever I just heard of. I’d fast and fast, repeatedly, N times, indeed even N times, to make sure that I get good results, I had ambition and I hoped that God would not let me pray in vain, that eventually one day God would bestow on me His goodness.
Then, people knowing me and seeing how much I struggled with my husband who drank a lot, a woman sent me to the Franciscan Church in Cluj. More precisely it’s by the Telephone Company in the Museum Square, the church that is dedicated to Saint Anthony.
There were monks who’d sleep there, I don’t know if they still live there, but monks lived in tiny little rooms along a hallway that lead to the street entrance. And I was received by a priest, an older monk, and I started to tell him about my life, I began to talk to him like to my best friend. Indeed I never said a word about my sorrow to my parents, or to my brother, or my sisters. The only people on earth I’d tell about all my problems were the priests.
But why did you not say anything to your family?
I couldn’t because my mother was rather sickly and it was more than enough what they got to see happening to me. No need for them to know also what they didn’t see. I'm a woman that doesn’t like to cry on anybody’s shoulder. Always in the morning I tell my troubles to God. I kneel down and then I cry for half an hour, one hour, then I tell everything to God, and then I get moving, and I can keep on smiling.
That’s how I dealt with it, I’d say all my problems to priests and monks when I went to monasteries. So I arrived in front of this priest and began to tell him, but I couldn’t talk from crying. I sighed; I could hardly speak thru my tears. And I told him, “Look, how hard it is, and sure, I wanted to divorce him but he told me, he was very bad when he got drunk, raising hell with everyone, jumping on their heads, eager to fight with them, and so I was afraid of him, even more so that he threatened that if I get a divorce he’d kill me.
I also thought if I get a divorce I had nowhere to go. I couldn’t live in the same house with him; it would have been terrible, woe to me if I made him my enemy. And so I had to stay married to him and had to endure so I can raise my children. Saying all this stuff, very troubled, to the priest, at one point I said, "Father, I pray to God so much and I always fast, and God never," I said it with disappointment, "God never listens to my prayers." And then I wiped the tears from my face with my hand, my backhand, as if I see him now, and he says, "I’ll hold a prayer service every evening at midnight. If after this he doesn’t get cured from this disease, then I recommend that you divorce him. It would be a pity to spend your youth this way."
I then, hearing him telling me to divorce, I immediately thought of my children and then as if I saw a child, the little one, pained, my two year old whom my husband loved more, the one that now works with me. And then I saw in front of me how I pulled my older child away and my husband the smaller one. I got so scared and I said, "No, I don’t want a divorce," although nothing tied me to my husband, there was no love between us after so much anguish and suffering, 13 years of it, especially since I didn’t marry him out of love. I was a dumb girl who was ashamed to tell him, "No, man, I don’t love you." And so I had to continue my life. When I told the priest I didn’t want to divorce him, he said, "Well, you kneel down and I’ll pray to God to listen to you in your prayers, since from what you say I see that you pray enough." And I knelt down, I covered my face with my hands, and began to pray. He put his hand on my head, put some book on my head, I know he placed a book and began to pray for me to make God hear me in my prayers.
At one point, I know this stuff didn’t last long, but I prayed, I’ll never forget, I prayed, "Holy God, in whatever form You want and however You can, just stop him from drinking, whichever way You see fit." And then at that point I know I heard a man's voice and two hands appeared in front of my face. The two hands of a man, and the voice said, "Kiss my hands." I got hold of those hands and I desperately kissed those hands, like I never kissed anyone in my life.
I relive these moments... and I could not get enough of kissing those hands. The priest prayed further on and then at some point I didn’t see the hands in front of me anymore. Then I got up and I didn’t know what was going on around me anymore. I know I paid the priest, I took money from my wallet, I don’t know how much money I paid, and I went out. I worked at the Health Department, I don’t even know what street I took from the priest, only that I arrived in front of the Health Department, as if I woke up from a dream. Perhaps it was Memorandum Street or perhaps I came thru the Museum Square, but I don’t know what street I came on. And when I got to the Health Department as if I woke up from a dream and I said, then I saw those palms in front of my face, I saw myself kissing those hands, I heard that voice, "Kiss the hands!" and then fear, unrest, descended upon me, and I said, “Lord,” and I immediately thought that the priest said, “If my midnight prayers don’t help him, then nothing will help him.” And then I thought, "Lord, I offended God. How could I..." and I thought I must have kissed the hands of the priest. "How could I kiss that priest's hands so fondly?! I’ve never kissed anyone like I kissed those hands in my life. How I could kiss his hands! This priest is not sane, to ask me to kiss his hands. I’ve spoken with so many priests but no one did such a gesture.” And then I realized that only to Lord Jesus I would have kissed His hands like this. And that thought gave me no peace all day long.
I went home at night, I took care of the household chores, and in the morning when I came to work, on the bus, I was commuting from the countryside, and when I got off the bus such weakness took over me as if my legs and feet were tied up, like never before, I've always been an energetic person, I didn’t know what was happening to me. Somehow I arrived at the institute. I was alone, since every morning, since I was a commuter, I arrived earlier. Each time I arrived earlier, before the cleaning lady came in, I’d kneel down, I’d put a small icon in front of me, and I’d lift my hands and begin to cry out desperately to God. I was utterly wailing. Only there I could open up, voice all my hardships, knowing nobody could hear me. So that morning I started to pray as usual. I felt so drowsy and powerless. And I thought to myself, “I’ll put my head on the table, on the desk, to rest, just for 5 minutes, until this overwhelming tiredness eases away.” Well, I don’t know how long I rested, but perhaps little, perhaps just a few seconds or minutes, I can’t say, but I found myself in front of the sink at about two meters away from the desk where I rested my head. I woke up shivering all over, like I was shaken by electricity. A voice had woken me up. A female voice. She shouted and my ears could hear her words echoing, like in a forest when you shout in a forest and it echoes. Just that echo sounded in my ears and she told me.... Each word began so very, very loud, that it shook me, and then it faded slowly, gradually until one word ended and then another word began, but the words were very, very spaced out, the woman said those words at intervals, making sure I understood. And she said, "Why do you keep thinking that you did wrong kissing the hands of the priest? No!" And she stressed the no, "No! You didn’t kiss his hands but you kissed the hands of Jesus. And as fondly as you’ve kissed them, so fondly will Jesus fulfill your wishes." These were the exact words that I heard in my ears, the ones that I tell you, so she didn’t say, “Lord Jesus”, she said exactly these words.
When she finished the last word, "wishes", I woke up in front of the sink, shaking all over, and I was scared when I saw how I trembled, and I struggled to catch my hands, to keep my hands steady, to stop the shaking, and I asked myself, I looked around, if someone would have seen me, they’d thought I was crazy. I looked around and I asked myself, "Who has talked to me?" When I said the second time, "Who has talked to me?" a thought came to me, "Our Savior’s Mother shouted from heaven,” for I prayed a lot to the Virgin Mary, for so many years during fasting, for so many times I kept all sorts of novenas in the honor of Our Lady, and I so prayed and cried in front Our Lady’s icon and shouted, "Mother! Mother!" and I’d cry in my despair, "Mother! You’re my Mother who gave me life! Only You can help me! Why have You abandoned me? I am Your child, don’t You see me how I struggle on this earth?" And when I thought that must have been the Mother of God who called from heaven, then my shaking stopped. It simply went away and then I started crying with joy and said, I was convinced that it was Our Lady who called me, and I’m convinced even now that the Mother of God called from heaven, and I said, "Oh, Holy Mother!" I started crying, such a bliss and peace enveloped me. "Our Holy Mother, this means that You talked to Your Son and You know that He listens to my prayers. Then I have to pray even more to deserve His miracle." And then, I know it was mid-week, I’m not sure, I don’t want to lie, but I don’t know if it was Wednesday or Thursday. I think it was a Thursday, I think it was a Thursday, but I won’t lie, because on Thursdays I always keep Saint Rita’s novena. Any issues I have I passionately keep Saint Rita’s novenas. During those 13 years I’ve kept much of Saint Rita’s novenas. Starting with Thursday, that is from Thursday every day: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, until next Wednesday in honor of Saint Rita you don’t eat until noon, and even then only fasting, vegetarian meals, you fast. So one week I’d dedicate my fast to Saint Rita, among other saints’ fasts, among which some were for sure in the honor of the Holy Mother, in honor of Jesus Christ, in honor of Saint Thaddeus, in honor of Saint Theresa. I prayed both to the Catholic and the Orthodox saints. I desperately prayed to Saint Anthony of Padua on many Tuesdays during my fasting.
And, as I’ve said, I decided that I needed to pray more. The next week, I started to pray on Monday, and I hold fast for Our Lady on Monday, for seven weeks. Monday, the first day, the second week on Tuesday, the third week on Wednesday, so on, until the seventh week was on Sunday. Monday, as I say, I started fasting for the Holy Mother, Tuesday, the next day, I started the fast for Saint Anton, for nine Tuesdays, and just the same for nine weeks on Thursday, as I told you, I call Saint Rita my friend Rita from the sky, so I began keeping Saint Rita’s novenas on Thursdays. For a week I ate only from noon onwards.
At that time, oh, how many times my husband got fired because of his drinking! Now he had alcoholic hepatitis, and he wouldn’t keep his diet. When I got home from work I’d always find him drunk, sleeping, and sure I’d start doing the household chores and left him alone. And then one day he wakes up, he was drunk and fell asleep, so he wakes up and he was only in an undershirt, it was summer, and he was all red blotches on his arms and hands, his entire skin was covered in red blotches. And he comes to me scared and shows me his hands and arms and says, "Look how spotted are my hands!" I was expecting any moment, any moment now, to see the wonders and miracles of God, that God begins His work. And so I say, "But do go on drinking." Of course I thought it's from the liver, knowing that he had alcoholic hepatitis, and I say, "Just go on drinking, though you can’t force your liver to endure your bullshit, but do drink on." And I went on with my chores around the house.
Since that moment he didn’t drink for an entire week, in spite of being deeply alcoholic.
After a week he tells me that he’ll come to town to find work, he’d say that to cover up that his body craved drinking. And he went to his sister’s who lived in Mănăştur District. His sister, in vain she served him food, like any other drunkard he only wanted to drink, though his family scolded him not to drink, but this is how it goes with drunkards, you can’t do much. And so she serves him a drink. At that moment, his sister told me, at that moment when he first drank a drop of alcohol he began to tremble! He said it was as if he was shaken by electricity, shaking all over, and he heard in his head, he heard many voices saying, "You’re dying! You’re dying!"
He freaked out when he heard someone telling him he was dying, he cried aloud, "I'm dying, I'm dying!" while he was shaking. At one point the tremors stopped and he recovered, as if nothing had happened. His sister, when she saw how he trembles, phoned me at work, "Quickly, come quickly! Radu is about to die!" When I arrived, I rushed by taxi, when I got there, he had recovered, there was nothing wrong anymore. Well, then, in the moment, I couldn’t think straight and didn’t realize that that was God’s miracle. I said to myself, “Who knows what happened to him.” But I didn’t think, “This is how a Divine miracle starts and thru this trial he’ll give up drinking!”
A few days passed, of course when he drank I couldn’t leave my children in his hand because I could not rely on him. So then every weekend on Sunday evening I took my children to my mother's and left them for the week. So, as usual, on Sunday evening I take the kids to my mother and he enters the bar, he came with us, and he went to the bar as usual, that’s how he always said, "Go ahead, I’ll catch up with you," though my parents live close by, in the village center, and are close to that bar. But he always arrived after two, three hours, dead drunk, he couldn’t stand up on his feet. Well, on that day when he says, "Go, I’ll catch up with you," I don’t even get to my parents’ when he goes running by very scared, he walks past me and says, "It happened again!" When I get into the yard I ask, "What has happened to you?" "I tried!" he says. "Haven’t I told you what had happened to me at my sister?! Now I tried to drink beer, I thought I had allergy to hard liquor, and I tried to see if beer was okay, and the first drop I put in my mouth, again I began to tremble and heard those voices telling me I was dying, and I was ashamed of the people in the bar, and I slammed the beer bottle on the table and I ran out, so the guys won’t see me trembling."
This passed too, but still I didn’t think it was again God’s miracle, though I saw that he no longer drank for a week, and only when he started to, there was nothing wrong with him otherwise, only when he put the first drop of alcohol in his mouth it would happen again. And this repeated each time he tried to drink. He was so held up in this evil passion/torment, and of course the Evil One didn’t want to let him out of His hand, He didn’t want to let him escape His power, but I was still praying, I was praying every night at midnight, along with the priest, as he told me that we’d both pray at midnight with lighted candles. Even if I went to sleep earlier I’d wake up, I’d set my alarm clock, and I prayed with him at midnight for God to stop my husband from drinking. And so this repeated as often as he’d try to drink. It went like this for a year. For one year he didn’t want, though he saw that this happened each time, but still for a whole year every two, three weeks, one week, he’d try another drink. I think he tested every drink possible. Eventually he ended up seeing a doctor, “Look what is happening to me, I can’t drink anymore!” And the doctor told him, "Listen, Sir, if that sort of thing happens, though I've never heard something like that in my entire life, but if that sort of thing happens, it means that you have to stop drinking, and that's it. Stop once and for all." And since then, 14 years passed since he doesn’t drink anymore. Praised be the Lord, He saved me from this heavy burden and took off this cross from my shoulders. He saved him from this calamity. Now he too no longer suffers drunkards and I always say when he sees a drunkard raising hell, I say, "Look, this is how you were yourself! I don’t know how I put up with you for so many years."
And what does he do now?
Oh, well… It’s still hard on me, he doesn’t work much. I still have to carry my cross but not for that passion/torment. It’s still hard on me. My children, whatever they need they say, "Mom, we need this," and sometimes when I’m annoyed I say, "Don’t you have a father too?" But what can I do?
Will you tell me about how you started doing monastery tours? Did you go before as a pilgrim there?
Yes, I went on pilgrimages, I went because this was the refuge from my everyday life. My children were young. I can say I’ve been to monasteries for about 18, 19 years and the kids were small and I was so poor, I’d hid now and then one leu, two, one penny and I gathered them, well, when the occasion came to go on a pilgrimage, so I too could run and make the pilgrimage, so I could pay its cost. And so I started to go to monasteries and so much peace I could find there, and I found so much joy when I got at the monasteries. I wanted so much to become a nun. How many times after I started to go to the monasteries, whenever I entered a monastery I was thinking, "When my children grow older I’ll become a nun!" and I’d cry, oh, I cried so much at the monasteries and I’d think, "Should I come to this monastery?" After I saw another one, "Or should I come here?" But I was thinking of becoming a nun at a monastery closer to home, closer to Cluj, so my children could come to see me. But the first monastery that impressed me was the Posada hermitage. I went with other women on a Saturday night, it was the Transfiguration, so it was August 5th when I went, I don’t know what year. The celebration is on the 6th and we went on the 5th, ahead of time, to stay during the
Midnight Office on the Transfiguration Eve. Well, when I got in that courtyard, it was the first monastery I’d visited, I felt at every step that God was with me, I felt a strong energy overshadowing me with Divine Power and I began to cry with joy. And as long as the prayer service lasted during vespers, and then during the Compline and Midnight Office services, oh, there was his Holiness Vasile Someșanul, he was our Archbishop then, and Andreicuț who was the Bishop of Alba County. There were very, very many priests.
I was so happy that I put a blanket under me and there I knelt until midnight and I cried nonstop, so very happy to be there. When the
Midnight Office Liturgy finished I said to the other women, “Let’s go to sleep.” There was no accommodation whatsoever, so I asked the priest to let us sleep in the church. And each woman put her blanket on the floor and we slept in the church. But the father said, "I let you sleep here but don’t talk because I sleep myself in the altar for I don’t have a place to sleep either, so don’t talk." We went to sleep. I couldn’t sleep at all. I couldn’t sleep because my bones ached on the hard floor, covered only with jute rugs, like it was in the old times. So then, I thought about things and I kept on looking at the paintings in the church, I kept on praying till five in the morning. At five o’clock, there is a miraculous spring in Posada, so then I went out and talked with several women, "Let's go take Holy Water, Miraculous Water, because at six starts the maslu/ Holy Unction prayer service, and then after the maslu
/Holy Unction prayers end the Matins Liturgy service begins." And so we did. I attended the maslu/Holy Unction prayers, then after that the liturgy on that great feast of August 6th, the Transfiguration, and all was well and good. I felt so very good, and since the meaning of the feast of the 6th of August is Lord Jesus transfigured on Mount Tabor, as I was up there on the mountain at the monastery I felt like I was on Mount Tabor where Lord Jesus Christ’ face was transfigured. I was so happy. I felt that I was where the miracle had happened. And when I heard Bishop Andrei leading us in singing, "Oh, Holy Mother!" since this holiday is during the fast of the Holy Mother of Our Lord, I realized that when the Sainted Liturgy service would end, I’d have to go back home, and I started crying. My heart was in such sorrow that I had to go back home, oh, why, when I was so happy there! I even thought, "God, why should I go home?! Living without love!" I had found so much love in God. And when the Mass finished, I kept on thinking how I could just not go home. But in that very moment when I was thinking how I could just not go home, "I have to go, I have young children!" and as I took a step towards our bus, and climbed thru its back door, I thought regretfully I cannot remain at the monastery.
And this is how my love for monasteries started. When I arrived home I told my husband, my children. I never thought that my children being quite small, I didn’t think that by telling them that I was sorry I didn’t stay at the monastery would affect my children. I cried and said, “I'm sorry I haven’t stayed there.” And Adrian being the smallest it remained in his memory and whenever I went somewhere to a monastery said, "Mother, please do not stay at the monastery!"
And when I returned from the monastery, being so affected and feeling such love for the monasteries a very strange thing happened to me, I can say now. I’d often, while washing dishes or cooking food in the house, or while cleaning, I’d hear in my head, I’d hear the choir singing, the monks from Posada. I truly heard them singing and I’d put my work aside, I missed hearing them, I so missed the monastery, and I’d go to the nursery, I’d sit on the children’s bed and listen to the choir. Upon my word, that's what would happen to me. If I talk about it people think I’m crazy, but it truly happened to me, I heard that chorus singing for me and I was so happy. At some point I’d no longer hear it and then I’d get up from their bed and go back to work.
And this is how I got my love for monasteries and so many divine miracles happened.
Another time I was at the Bistr
a Monastery and I was, all my life I've worked everything if my husband didn’t kill himself with work, I had to work all day long, and I had to work as a hairdresser, which business had its years of glory, indeed years during which I was able to work as much as my powers let me, so I worked both at home and at work. But I got sick and I went to the Bistrița Monastery. I wasn’t hurting or anything but during the day working or walking on the road I had bouts of weakness in the stomach and I trembled. I felt so bad that I’d almost faint, fell down. Often while I’d cut hair I feared I’d fall on the client. And I’d get something sweet to eat and I’d recover. I did my blood work. Doctors told me that all my tests were good. Nobody found anything wrong but I had this problem at least once, twice a day I felt this dizziness and this weakness in my body. And, as I say, I went to the Bistriț
a Monastery. It was raining so hard when the bus reached the monastery that everybody said, "We won’t get off, the whole country rains down on us." It was a pouring rain. And I said to a woman, "Let's go in the rain, even if we aren’t dressed lightly for summer we’ll still dry off." And we arrived at the monastery. And when I entered the monastery it was the first time when I stepped in that monastery. I felt such a deep Divine Power on my side and I went to Holy Mother’s icon and began to pray. Meanwhile it stopped raining. I was praying, or visit the monastery, and we used to take group pictures in front of the monastery, and many in our group called out for me, for several people only got off the bus just to visit, not to pray, and so when they came out of the monastery they were calling me to take pictures together, and I was so, how should I say it, I just loved to pray and feel the grace of God there, and I couldn’t part with my prayer, to abandon my prayer.
At one point, standing there alone praying in the monastery, the rest of the group were already all out, I thought, “Let's go, they might leave me here," and when I was about to get out a very strange thing happened, I was with my hand on the door handle, I do it every time I pray at a monastery when I start going out I take a last look around, I look at all the icons as if to take my farewell, and only then I get out. That one time I did the same, and when I arrived by the door, in the top of the left corner there was an icon of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
I knew that they displayed there the relics of Saint Gregory of Decapolis. And when I got to look at the icon of Our Lord Jesus Christ I felt that from the icon He was looking straight at me. I felt his eyes looking from the icon and then, as if, with my hand on the door knob, as if a wind, I don’t know how to explain it clearer, I felt someone was pushing me back, stopping me from going out. And feeling this I thought about the icon of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and when I got in front of the icon what do you think I saw?! The relics, placed in a black box made of wooden board, painted black. It looked like our wooden pencil boxes in the old times, the top of that box of relics was made of a glass sliding top that you could pull out. It was a piece of glass that you could pull out but only so far, without allowing you to fully slide it out, so as not to get your hands on that hand of Saint Gregory of Decapolis. He held his hand like I hold mine, this very way, the holy relics. Now they set it, I haven’t seen it since I didn’t go back yet, it’s covered in wax, probably to stop further degradation and to preserve it. Well, then it wasn’t preserved in wax. As if I can see it now, even the veins of the saint showed on that hand, like any hand, simply normal, only dried up. And when I saw the holy hand and read there that they were the relics of Saint Gregory of Decapolis, and that very many people were cured after touching it, then I was somewhat so nervous, wanting desperately to touch the saint's hand with my fingers, but, well, the glass wouldn’t allow me, and then I knelt down and started praying and crying, and I so prayed, "Lord Saint Gregory, I think you're near Our Lord Jesus Christ, please ask Him in my sinful name to heal me." In that moment, please believe me, as I was holding my hands on that box of relics, and kneeling down, I got so scared that I even stopped my prayer, because in that moment I felt in my right hand, this is how I can explain to everyone, as if a cold wind went through my bone marrow, as if a cold wind blew through my bone marrow from hand to hand, and from head to toe! When I felt this thing I stopped praying and I stood there, I think a few seconds I just stood there on the spot, and then I got up.
Well, since that moment, I've never had again that weakness in my body.
But another time, I had another day at another monastery at Saint Nicodim of Tismana, I went there to bathe, and for miruire/Holy Unction, that too related to my health, and because of that I have a great trust and always say that God is my doctor and I don’t trust doctors. I don’t go to doctors, only when I’m really forced to. Whatever problems I have, if I don’t feel good, I say it to God and put my trust in Him. God keeps me on this earth as long as He wants, not as long as doctors want. Doctors don’t do a thing for me. I had too many bad experiences like that.
So a wound occurred and I kept on treating it, and I had uterine fibroids and once when I did a Pap smear it turned out number 3, and when my gynecologist told me the results, I ask him, "Sir," scared, "do I have cancer?" So when your Pap smear is 1 or 2, it’s good, it shows that you are healthy, if it’s 3 or over, you have to worry.
And then he answered me, so as not to scare me. He says, "No, no! We have to repeat the tests." I take the test results to a close acquaintance who worked for another doctor, at the Hematology, and I ask her, "Mrs. Doctor, we know each other for so long. Please tell me, I know you don’t want to tell me everything, so as not to scare me. But were you to have these test results yourself, would you get worried or not? But tell me honestly!" And then she says, "Well, of course that I’d worry. It's only normal." I say, "This is all I wanted to know." And then I said I'd never go to the doctor again, and right the next week I had another pilgrimage to the Jiu Valley. And when I got to the Tismana Monastery, reading about the life of Saint Nicodim I find out that he made many miracles. I knelt down and worshiped his relics. Saint Nicodim has his grave in the nave, as they call it, you enter the first part of the church, and there is his grave. Knowing my problem, it was a Sunday, it was the Holy Liturgy/Mass, but I couldn’t care less that it was a crowd of people around me, or that someone would say something or laugh about me, I laid at the foot of the grave, I laid on my belly, I laid on the grave with my belly and I started to cry, to pray to Saint Nicodim to pray, to intercede on my behalf with Jesus Christ. "Saint Nicodim, you see that I have kids, please ask the Lord Jesus Christ on behalf of me, a sinful mother, to keep me alive to raise my children."
I sat there and cried and cried and prayed, and after awhile someone taps me on the shoulder. And I lift my eyes, face full of tears, it was a nun and she says, "Get up from the grave, it's not allowed to stay here."
And then I said, "Mother, let me stay just a few more seconds. I have a problem and I know that only here it will get resolved." So she didn’t say anything, let me stay there and pray, and please believe me from then on I haven’t had any health problem. I don’t take any medicine, and I didn’t need to have surgery for the fibroid.
It's been ten years. My Pap smear ever since then it’s 1 and 2, which is... I even went to a gynecologist and when she saw the results and that I have no more gynecological problems, she said, "Ma'am, what world do you live on? Do you live on earth? At your age to have such a splendid Pap smear!"
And this is how the miracles of God repeated.
Another time I went to Dragomirna Monastery in Moldova, and when I was about to get out of the monastery there was an icon of the Holy Mother on a black background. I’ll never forget it. When I’m about to come out, I had such a good feeling seeing all those icons, and so I look about and as if the Holy Mother was watching me with every step, as if I looked at Her, and every time I go there I have this feeling that as if She watches me with her eyes, and often I turn around from the door, I go back to the icon and I pray more and I kneel down before the Holy Mother. Because I feel that the Holy Mother watches me from that icon, follows me with her eyes.
And once, so the icon is up on the wall, I knelt down and I lifted my hands to Her icon and I started to cry, and to pray. Believe me when I prayed I felt my right palm moving. It was like when you get a nervous twitch in your hand, you know, like often you feel a nerve twitch. I felt exactly like that in my palm and I stopped praying and I looked and my hand moved on the icon, I felt a twitch in my palm. I got scared, and said, "Our Holy Mother wants to tell me something, but how should I know what, sinful me?!"
And so out of this love to go, because we are several women who go together regularly to several monasteries, out of this love to go to more monasteries, to get to know all the monasteries in our country, out of this desire is why we started to make these pilgrimages. This is where I find my peace, since I work a lot. Here at the hair salon I have no vacation. I never allow myself a vacation and these few days of retreat at the monastery, these are my holidays. Although it’s hard work, as you’ve seen. I give so much food to people, I often cook at many monasteries. It’s enormously tiresome. I can’t sleep on the nights before the trip. It’s enormously tiresome but I feel that I need to do this and even if I’m more tired, even if I work harder, but surprisingly God gives me so much power and look, since I go to monasteries I don’t call the ambulance anymore. Oh, how many times my clients were left... So, before making these pilgrimages it often happened that my clients were left with the hair dye on, because the ambulance came and took me. It often happened. The poor women love me so much my clients that she rinsed her head herself and her hair was only half dyed and when her husband said, "Woman, go and get your hair dyed properly!" "Until Mrs. Silvia gets better I don’t go anywhere else."
Yes indeed...
Can you tell me again what you said about my curses?
So when Mihai was little, three years old, I got sick. I began to feel weak, to throw up a lot. I lost weight, nothing hurt me, but I lost a lot of weight. Everything I ate I threw up and lost weight. In a year after I knocked on the door of all the clinics in town and consulted so many doctors, but everyone said I had nothing wrong, but I was drying up on my feet, mere bones and skin I was, I went to a priest and he opened the Pravila [which is a Holy Book about the laws of the church that is written in Cyrillic letters. The Holy Gospels will also do if in Cyrillic letters.] which means that you open anywhere the Holy Book and the priest who knows how to interpret it tells your fortune, what is wrong with you and what to do about it. Anyway, I didn’t know about the opening of the Holy Book. I didn’t know that priests can open the Holy Book and can see everything about your life.
He came with a thick book, he said, "Open the book!" I thought, "God, why on earth does this priest make me open this book?" And when I open it, he says, "Why haven’t you told me about your problem? A blonde woman who was a girlfriend of your husband put a curse to separate you two and if you two cannot be separated, then she cursed you to get sick. Either by illness or by divorce, you must be separated."
And my husband gets angry, curses God and says, "I’ll go and I'll burn down her house!" but the priest says," No, no, no! Let me hold a prayer service for your wife to make her healthy again. Let God take care of the one who put the curse. But," he says, "what I can do about her, is to pray that whatever curse she put on you to fall back on her very own head." But I said, "No, Father, my life is in God's hands. And if God wants me to live I’ll live in spite of all her curses, and if God wants me to die and to end my life now, then this is how it shall be. I don’t want that she, if she used devilish means, she did it out of recklessness and didn’t know what she was doing. She doesn’t know God and doesn’t know what God is and what Godly things are and what are ungodly, evil things. Please, let God decide if I live or not."
And with that I left the priest and I went to my priest in the village. I have a very good priest and he knew me since I went to church all the time and he loves me very much. He always asks my parents about me, always, he takes great pleasure when I go to talk to them, he invites me into their house, "Come, Silvia, let’s chat a bit!" and he always asks me in, ever since I became healthy with his help. And I went to the priest and I said crying, "Father, it’s been a year since I’ve kept going to the doctors and nobody finds anything and look what that priest told me upon opening pravila/the Holy Book. And," I say, "I’d like, I trust you, I'd like you to hold prayer service for me." And he prayed over my head he put under his stole. Believe me, when this priest began to pray, I felt in my chest as if someone stabbed a lot of knives in me, painful stabbing, it hurt so much throughout my chest, such stabbing that I wanted to cry and the priest put his hand over my mouth under his stole so as not to cry, not to disturb him in his prayer. I had such terrible chest pains. As long as this prayer went I had these chest pains and when the prayer ended the pain stopped.
He read over me three times that week, so he began on Sunday, Wednesday night, and Friday night. Friday night, Wednesday night nothing happened to me, but on Friday night when he read the third time, when he started to read over me, a vein started, I felt like it said tick-tick-tock like a clock, I felt the veins in my head throbbing. I thought, "God Almighty! I’m having a cerebral hemorrhage /vascular accident in the brain!" All night my veins throbbed just like a ticking clock in my head, and after that I got well.
But that's why I said it's not allowed to put a curse on people, you have to let them be judged by the will of God, since God knows everything and he who puts a curse, God forbid, it might come back and destroy himself. It’s not allowed.
You have to accept any misfortune that happens to you. For the misfortune is also happening with God’s will, perhaps God lets you go through a tough trouble so you return to Him. God wants, because He loves us, this is how He can make us return to Him. You'll never see a happy man praying. A man who has a good marriage, who has a good life, and is in everything doing well, what does he care about God?! But the man who has a problem today, tomorrow another one, who does he go to, if not to the arms of God?
Next time I'd like you to tell me stories about the pilgrimage, happenings that stayed with you, about monks you remember, how you boiled balmoş... Okay? Or how that priest told you to give up hairdressing, or how he criticized you that you dress coquettishly, stuff like that, next time, okay?
But I kindly ask you to please don’t advertise the pilgrimages, that would upset me very much. I told you that a journalist came to interview me and I told her, "Please, don’t write about it." Only to see myself in the newspaper, but nothing from what I actually said. And then she kept on calling and I told her, "Listen, forget about me, please! You guys are jerks! Crooks! Shame on you! I’m struggling to do God's will and all you do is concoct falsehoods about me. Jerks! Forget about me!"
What newspaper was that?
Foaia.
I don’t know, I don’t understand why they don’t write exactly what you tell them, it's so interesting....

My thanks go to 
Valentin Tarlete who voluteered the transcription of the Romanian language recording. Valentin unfortunately fights cancer and financial hardship. I'd be glad if you donate, so I can help him financially.
 
New York
August 30, 2013

 
 
Well, here you have it: If you’d like to throw a bit of money my way to keep my endeavors going, and also enable me to spread the money to my various causes, witnessing democracy, freedom of speech and faith, and engineering social change thru art being some of them, I’d be grateful.

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