Welcome to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Why SSJE: Maria Gjonaj

Maria GjonajIt was a warm, sunny May afternoon in 1998 when I first entered the front doors of SSJE. It was dark with only a few candles and the sun streaming through the stained glass panels emitting just enough light for me to find a seat. Most striking for me however, was the sight of a young student lying down on his side on the cold stone floor. He was resting with his eyes closed and breathing softly and fully. I didn’t know what concern, what prayer brought him into the monastery but I knew that if he could surrender here and fall sleep with no self-consciousness or fear, I could too. Thirteen years later, the monastery remains a place where when I enter its doors, my soul nods, “yes”

Maria Gjonaj – Bethesda, Maryland
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