In 1998, the Convent acquired from the local authorities a parcel of land outside the village of Lysaya Gora designated for ancillary farming. Soon, the monastic farmstead was established, giving shelter to people in difficult life situations, the homeless, former prison inmates, sufferers from alcohol or drug dependency, and people with disabilities. Some 170 residents are staying at the farm at present, working under the supervision of the monastic sisters. The Convent provides them with essential clothing, food, personal hygiene items, medicines and other necessities.
The men work at the animal farm (looking after cattle, swine and poultry), in the fields (growing a variety of crops, in the garden and orchard looking after the fruit trees, raspberries and currants), in the greenhouses, at the apiary, in the dog kennel, and at construction sites.
They have weekly meetings and talks with a priest. Every Wednesday, an Akathist is read to the Icon of the Holy Mother of God “Inexhaustible chalice”. Liturgy is celebrated on Saturday, and vespers on the eve of every Sunday. Sunday classes are offered to all residents interested and willing to learn about the foundations of the Orthodox faith.
Some 300 women have received support and guidance at the Convent’s farmstead for disadvantaged women. Here are some reflections on the farmstead’s work and evolution.
A Women’s Rehabilitation Centre of St Elisabeth Convent was established in 2011 near village Nialidavičy close to Minsk. The plan was to build a safe place where homeless, unemployed, disadvantaged women - from all kinds of difficult life situations.