The Sisterhood, in honour of the Holy Martyr Grand Duchess Elisabeth, was established in 1994. We began with only a small group of lay sisters visiting the patients of the National Psychiatric Hospital. Twenty-six years later, we have over 300 lay brothers and sisters of Saint Elisabeth Convent and conduct multiple ministries following the example of their Patroness.
Our beginnings start with Father Andrey Lemeshonok, Spiritual Father of our Convent, who used to serve at a historical church in Minsk - the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul. He and several parishioners started to visit people with mental disabilities at the Psychiatric Hospital. Five years later, the Sisterhood was born and Saint Elisabeth Convent was established in 1999.
The sisters chose Saint Elisabeth as their heavenly patroness and intercessor because they were inspired by her feat. She dedicated her life to helping the poor and the sick, so the sisters wanted to follow her footsteps.
Saint Elisabeth once wrote:
“True happiness is something that neither men nor events can take from you. You will find it in Faith, in Hope and in Charity. Try to make those around you happy, and you will be happy yourself.”
The sisters believe in these words. This is why the three components of happiness -Faith, Hope and Charity are at the very centre of the Sisterhood.
Today, the lay Sisterhood is a part of Saint Elisabeth Convent. It is a community of God-loving Orthodox Christian women who desire to help those who need it the most - the sick and the poor, the homeless and the disabled. Sisters are distinguished by white habits that they wear above their clothes. The right to wear the habit is given by the Senior Sister with the blessing of the Spiritual Father of the Convent.
Every lay sister has obedience that best suits her abilities and talents. Some people like to work with children, others may prefer to help the elderly. Any help is much appreciated and welcomed.
The Gospel says:
“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:42)
This is exactly what the ministries of St Elisabeth Convent are all about. There are people out there who need help. And our sisters are there to provide that help with the best way they can.
First of all, the sisters help the homeless, poor and disadvantaged men and women. Saint Elisabeth Convent has established:
There those people can rebuild their lives by learning to work and finding God along the way.
Secondly, the sisters visit:
We call them God’s People because their pure hearts are always ready to get to know Christ and follow Him.
And, of course, we make sure to help those who are suffering from illnesses. We have:
Those many ministries are possible through the prayers of our heavenly intercessor Saint Elisabeth and the continuous support and generosity of our friends from all over the world.
Sisters of our Convent share their stories of when and how they heard the Lord and responded to His call. The second story about the way to God shared with us Sister of Mercy Leonilla Utekhina.
It was a genuine feeling of victory in the middle of pandemic restrictions, depriving people of the simple joy of being together... And yet, there is always victory in Christ, even in the most difficult circumstances.
Natalya Orlovskaya, a sister of mercy, has the talent of comforting the desperate and grieving. According to Natalya, this talent is a gift from God. We talked to Sister Natalya about discovering God and how it can bring happiness to our lives.
How do people like you and me with many weaknesses and vulnerabilities become soldiers of God's army who enlighten the lives of others? Sister Natalya Kurgasova shares her insights.
He visited Saint Elisabeth Convent ten years ago, and he already knew then that it was his home. We Asked Brother Dmitry Akhremkin to talk about his obediences at the Convent and tell us why he thinks it is the best place in the world for him.
As a sister at the Convent, I have had many people say to me, "How can we believe in God when we have not had the experience or the need to believe?" How can I respond? Let me share my experience of coming to God.
Lay and monastic sisters have worked hand in hand in St Elisabeth Convent in Minsk for over two decades in the places where love and care are especially needed.
Sister Galina spends most of her working day talking to people who are grieving the loss of their loved ones. She talks about her obedience, life-changing encounters and growth in the faith as a sister of Saint Elisabeth Convent.