Byzconsin: Buying Our Home 

houseA huge part of our Byzconsin journey involves buying a home. Being able to purchase a reasonably priced home was a huge motivator for us to move to the Midwest. We moved not knowing when we would be able to buy but knowing it would be much more feasible in Wisconsin than in California.
When we moved to Wisconsin we were renting. I dreaded the thought of renting for too long and definitely didn’t want to move around a lot before we could buy a house, especially since the move across country would be a stress on the family for various reasons anyway. We had been homeowners in the past but were renting prior to moving to Wisconsin. In my experience and opinion, renting is not for families (especially large ones). I prayed to be able to settle down and be homeowners again–soon.

Finding a home to purchase large enough for our family, in (or at least nearby) the village where the monastery was located; a home affordable and in decent condition, and one we could qualify to buy, was asking quite a bit. We were limited on options and our landlord only wanted to rent to us for a year! We did the only thing we knew that would help us get a home for sure—we prayed. We sought the help of Saint Xenia of Petersburg, someone who had helped us numerous times before. As always, she didn’t let us down. In short, an opportunity arose that allowed us to become homeowners again.

StXenia

Saint Xenia

The house is over a hundred years old (as are many of the homes around here) and that made me nervous. Manny wanted it immediately but I was much more hesitant because of the repairs I knew it needed. I am from California, nothing there (except for the Missions) is that old! Okay, maybe not quite, but close. We had always lived in newer and remodeled homes so this ‘great ol’ house’ scared me!

Diego helping us remodel the kitchen.

Diego helping us remodel the kitchen.

‘Anything could break or bust at any moment–remember the movie, The Money Pit?!!’ That’s the sort of thought I had running through my mind when considering living in the home. I know, dramatic, but seriously, I wasn’t comfortable with buying such an old place.

In a previous article about Blessed Solanus Casey, I described entering the house for the first time with the words of Blessed Solanus Casey being shared with me by a friend, “Thank God ahead of time.” my friend said and then we found Blessed Solanus Casey’s relics in the house. The saints were definitely there to get me through my apprehension.

The family who used to live in the house were Catholic. The parents had long since passed away and so had most of their children. The two siblings left did not need the house. One was a Sister and the other lived in another city. The Sister had told me how she prayed a good Catholic family would move in. She loved the house so much and shared some fond memories from her childhood with us. Since the family was Catholic, there were some relics of Bl. Solanus Casey and St. (Padre) Pio placed in the windows and throughout the home. Little statues and holy cards were here and there and an extremely large crucifix was hanging in the upstairs hallway. The thought of living in this house where a devout Catholic family was raised was appealing to me. It still took some research about repairs needed and a bit of time but I finally got to where Manny was and was grateful to be able to buy the home. I still get nervous and wish we could fix the place up faster but I remember how we came to own this home and figure it is all a part of God’s will, so just be grateful.

I have thought often about the family who used to live here. I believe they had seven kids. One became a priest, another a Sister, others married. The mom went to daily Mass at the same convent where our monks now live. I think of her some days, wonder what her daily life was like. What were her struggles with raising a large family, how did she pass the faith on, what were her fears, her joys? I wonder what she would think of the color I painted her kitchen cabinets. Would she like the little icon corner where her glass cabinet used to be?

iconcorner

My kitchen icon corner with Saint Monica in the center.

The history in this little village is deep and long and this home and the family who lived in it are a part of that history. Now the monastery and our family, and even another family who have also known the monks for many years are a part of this little place. I wonder what the future will hold for this village. Most of the people are getting older and younger people have moved on. But we are here now and so are the monks, who knows what God’s new plans are for this quiet Catholic village named after Saint Gregory of Nazianzus–only He knows.

Holy Resurrection Monastery

2 Comments

  1. It’s so neat that your house used to belong to a devout Catholic family! So many graces and fruits of prayers must be floating around there 🙂 I also love your kitchen icon corner, it’s gorgeous!

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