Source: St. Elisabeth Convent
February 7, 2024
6 February is a day of deep spiritual significance, as it marks the commemoration of Saint Blessed Valentina of Minsk. Travellers from all corners of the globe flock to her resting place, the tranquil cemetery in Krysova, nestled in the Dzerzhynsky district of the Minsk region, Belarus, to pay homage to this revered figure. This sacred site serves as a sanctuary for those grappling with physical and mental suffering, offering a haven of solace and prayer.
Among the devoted visitors to this ground is Yana Semashkevich, who works at Saint Elisabeth Convent. She has dedicated several years to tending to the grave. Her commitment has led her to become a part of a tight-knit community that reverently cares for the resting place of Saint Valentina. In a poignant interview, Yana shares her deeply personal journey to faith, her role in nurturing the grave, and the profound miracles she attributes to the intercession of Saint Valentina of Minsk.
Can you recount your initial encounter with Mother Valentina?
My father is a deeply religious man. I can recall accompanying him to church every weekend and on special occasions since I was young. My father observed the fast, but I did not at that time.
He regularly goes to the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Minsk, and after Mother Valentina's canonization there, a fellow worshipper approached him and asked if he had visited her grave. When he admitted he hadn't, he was gently reprimanded. Following his first visit, his journeys to Mother Valentina’s grave became frequent and regular, and he contributed his labours to adorn her resting place.
At the time, I was around 13 or 14. I distinctly remember feeling that I could do without God and the church, so I stopped joining my father in attending services as it no longer held any allure for me. However, I never explicitly denied the existence of God; I still kept icons in my room, prayed when I needed help and clung to my faith. It was still living deep in my heart, as they say.
... Read the rest at St. Elisabeth Convent.