The Schema Nun Benedicta [Braga],
former abbess of the Dormition of the Mother of God Monastery here, fell asleep in the Lord after a long illness on August 8, 2005.
Mother Benedicta was born in 1919, in the village of Condrita in Besarabia. She entered Varatec Monastery in northern Romania at the age of ten, taking monastic vows at the age of 38. She graduated from Iasi University with a
degree in natural sciences and education and served as a teacher at middle and high school levels for the sisters and nuns of Varatec. She also taught music at the monastery and served as a guide in the monastery’s museum for
In 1978, she left Varatec and entered Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Ellwood City, PA, bringing with her experience of monastic life and a wealth of knowledge based on the tradition of Romanian monasticism. In 1984, she became the monastery’s abbess.
Mother Benedicta strongly desired to establish another monastery in the United States. In 1987, with the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate of the Orthodox Church in America, she, together with Mothers Gabriella and Apolinaria, established what was to become the Dormition of the Mother of God Monastery in Terre Haute, IN. The incorporation papers were made final on March 27, 1987 and were approved by the Episcopate Council in September of that same year. After a long and tedious search for a permanent location, the nuns relocated to the monastery’s current property in Rives Junction in January 1988.
In the spring of 1989, Mother Benedicta’s younger brother, Archimandrite Roman, who was the spiritual father of the Ellwood City community when they departed in 1987, joined her and Mothers Gabriella and Apolinaria in Rives
Junction. Mother Benedicta assumed the position of abbess, while Father Roman became the community’s spiritual father. After retiring as abbess in 1992, Mother Benedicta took the stricter vows of a great schema nun. Her
final years were spent in prayer, reading, and the contemplative life of a schema nun.
Mother Benedicta’s legacy will remain in the tradition she brought with her to the United States and through the ongoing leadership of Mother Gabriella.
She is survived by her brother, Archimandrite Roman.
Visitation will take place at the monastery on Monday, August 8, from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. A Memorial will be celebrated at 6:45 p.m.
On Tuesday, August 9, the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at 7:00 a. m., with the funeral service commencing at 1:00 p.m. Interment will be in the monastery cemetery.
May Mother Benedicta’s memory be eternal!