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 men in difficult life situations, the homeless, former prison inmates, sufferers from alcohol or drug dependency, and people with disabilities. Some 200 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 residents are assigned tasks at the animal farms, the garden, the greenhouses and the beehives.
On 3 January 2010, the Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk Philaret consecrated the Church in Honour of the Icon of the Mother of God "Inexhaustible Chalice" and performed monastic tonsures on six brothers who had joined our Convent. That was a prominent and welcome event in our history.
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.
Most residents of the farmsteads have versatile artistic talents which they share with others at our multiple musical evenings and events. All visitors are welcome.
The farmstead is located about 1.5 kilometres off Nelidovichi Village. It accommodates vulnerable and disadvantaged women who are homeless, estranged from their families, former prison inmates, or unemployed. They come with the desire to change their lives and found shelter and opportunity to develop and use their abilities.
At present, we are giving shelter to some 30 women. Some women are staying with their children, and the monastics run the farmstead are in contact with the child protective services on their behalf to keep the mothers and children together.
Not even the smallest change or transformation in a person can happen without Confession, Communion and prayer. Each day of the farmstead's residents starts with a prayer. The labour of prayer is the hardest of all, but the women are not daunted by it. Likewise, they will take on fearlessly their daily tasks.
The women's typical chores include work in the kitchen, the garden or greenhouse, or housekeeping. Some of the chores are seasonal. In winter, we grow hiratake mushrooms in one of our cellars. In summer, we harvest medicinal herbs for the herbal workshop. For the feast of the Entry of the Lord to Jerusalem, we make willow bunches, about 50 thousand a day.
Work opportunities are also available at the bookbinding and tailoring workshops. The tailoring workshop mainly serves the needs of the convent. Key products are monastic vestments, cooking aprons for the canteen, neckpieces and handkerchiefs.
The women residents look after the goats, rabbits and chickens and we will be happy to treat you to some of the milk and cottage cheese from our goats.
We also make a variety of leather products and prayer beads popular among customers in Belarus and elsewhere.
The Lord hears our prayers, and transformations happen. One of the women has joined Saint Elisabeth Convent as a monastic, and another has become our sister of charity.
The guided tour programme includes a visit to the farmstead's Church of Saint Sergius of Radonezh and its multiple workshops. Lunch may be arranged with advance booking.