Thaisia of Leushino
Abbess Thaisia of Leushino was a famous abbess in the Russian Orthodox Church, well known for her spiritual writings.
- Born in 1840 to a noble family in Novgorod. Named for Maria (for the Mother of God, being the answer to prayers after 2 previous children died after birth).
- Enrolled at 10y.o. in Pavolovsky Institute for Young Noble Women in St Petersburg. Given nicknames 'Nun' and 'Abbess'.
- Received first vision at 12 before Easter, seeing wings on a bright being saying "Christ is Risen!"; first of many. Second vision (during dream) prompted her to pursue monasticism.
- Maria's mother adamantly refused permission to Maria becoming a nun. Maria tutored children in Borovichi, Novgorod.
- 1864: Maria's mother received a vision (of the Mother of God scolding her for her previous refusal). Maria then entered her novitiate at the Monastery of the Entrance of the Mother of God, in Tikhvin.
- Sr Maria struggled with physical labour, but was reassured by visions and seeing the depth of prayer possible (through example of other sisters).
- 1870: Tonsured a nun with name Arcadia.
- Mother Arcadia was transferred to a moldy cell that injured her health, and spent several months convalescing in Novgorod.
- 1872: Mother Arcadia transferred to Zverin-Protection Monastery in Novgorod, a comparatively less disciplined monastery.
- Transferred to Zvansky Convent of the Sign to be treasurer and assistant director of the diocesan college for girls. Tonsured to a higher degree of monasticism a year later with the name of Thaisia.
- 1881: Metropolitan of St Petersburg appointed Mother Thaisia superior of the Leushino community, a community in danger of closing for lack of discipline, poor finances and excessive interference from its benefactors. Encountered hostility on all fronts, suffered paralysis until healing from Archangel Michael. Complaints subsequently faded.
- 1885: Leushino made a convent; Mother Thaisia made abbess.
- Abbess Thaisia led the community onto a sound basis, building a large stone church and establishing what would become an ecclesiastical college for girls - a centre for spiritual education and enlightenment in the diocese.
- 1891: Met St John of Kronstadt. He would visit Leushino each summer.
- Wrote autobiography.
- Wrote Letters to a Beginning Nun, which was distributed to all Russian monasteries as a sort of 'beginners guide' for those wishing to be nuns.
- 1915: Having led Leushino for 30 years, she reposed.
- Abbess Thaisia of Leushino, (1989), The Autobiography of a Spiritual Daughter of St. John of Kronstadt, Platina, CA: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood.
- Abbess Thaisia of Leushino, Letters to a Beginner on Giving One's Life to God, Platina, CA: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood.
- Mystics of the Christian Tradition by Steven Fanning, p69-72