After having been under religious vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for several years, during the summer of 1986 Sister Pilar Callen and Sister Paula Seiple submitted a proposal to the Indianapolis bishop to create a monastery for EOC women. A small property for rent became available 45 miles west of the city, and Holy Redeemer Monastery was founded Oct 11, 1986 in Ladoga, Indiana. The first years were spent developing a schedule around hours of prayer, a place for EOC saints to retreat, and several income-producing projects to supplement the almsgiving which supported the Sisters. Eventually it seemed best to purchase a property which could be better utilized, and in 1992 58 acres were bought on which to build.
Over the next two years saints from across the EOC came to Bloomfield, Indiana and built a house and a barn for the monastery’s sheep flock. The Sisters moved at the end of 1994. Finally settled, the women took final religious vows in 1997 and began using the Orthodox designation of “Mother”. The numbers of visitors and retreatants increased to such an extent that an adjacent 12-acres property was purchased with a small house, which became Shepherd’s House. Each Sunday he Mothers traveled 90 minutes to either the parish in Indianapolis or the parish in Terre Haute for the Divine Liturgy, although occasionally visiting clergy would bring the service to the monastery chapel.
By 2006 it became clear that there were not going to be younger women joining the Mothers, and the bishops asked them to consider moving closer to one of the parishes. A decision was made to stay under religious vows but leave the monastic setting for a more parish-oriented life, and the monastery farm was sold. This change opened an opportunity for Mother Pilar to make the first trip for the EOC to East Africa in 2008. Following her initial visit there, several of the clergy went to Rwanda later that year and the development of EOC parishes in Rwanda, Burundi, Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and Uganda began.
In October, 2008 the Order of the Holy Redeemer officially began when the Mothers purchased a house in Greenwood, Indiana two blocks from the local parish’s building. The Mothers’ ministries became whatever the church thinks up for them to do! Mother Pilar continues to make occasional trips to encourage the African churches, Mother Paula administers the episcopal monetary fund, they provide spiritual direction for several women, and they specifically intercess for the EOC clergy and churches as well as persecuted Christians around the world. Before Carol Cornelius joined the household in 2014, the house took on the name AGAPE HOUSE to reflect that it was a place of ministry and not just the place where the Mothers lived. Now the three women are involved together in the local parish life on many levels as well as the other responsibilities.
279 Academy Street
Greenwood, IN 46143
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