Women's Fellowship

There are two organized groups on the St. Vladimir's campus, offering a wide range of programs and activities for seminarian wives and women students.

The St. Juliana Society, formed to support future clergy wives, plans a variety of events with a range of speakers who cover topics that have been suggested by former graduates and 2nd- and 3rd-year student wives. Meetings are on alternate Monday evenings at 7:00 p.m. generally at the home of our President and his wife, Fr. Chad and Mat. Thekla Hatfield.  

"I remember what it was like being a young clergy wife, clueless as to what was expected of me and how to deal with the challenges of parish and mission life," notes Matushka Thekla. "With the help of my student planners, we create a venue for questions about what happens after seminary, and try to equip wives with the tools they will need." 

The second group, a more general Women's Group, is specifically aimed at facilitating events that encourage fun and fellowship for all the women on campus, whether they be staff, faculty wives, or students. Movie nights, "mom's night out," cooking classes, game nights, and other creative special activities, draw the women together for times of relaxation and fellowship.

Read more about the Wives' Program:

Women Learn CPR Skills

Report by Robyn Bishop

On Monday, March 2, the St. Vladimir's women's group met together to learn a valuable skill: cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR! We were joined by Rebecca from CPRed (based out of Brewster, New York), who led the women in CPR skills to be used on adults, children, and babies in cardiopulmonary emergences. Everyone who attended will receive a certificate from the American Heart Association. Congratulations!

St. Juliana Society Evening Features Hatfield Story

Hatfield hospitality: Mat. Thekla shares her story with the women of the St. Juliana SocietyHatfield hospitality: Mat. Thekla shares her story with the women of the St. Juliana Society"When we started out our years of ministry, I was terrified," admitted Matushka Thekla Hatfield, in an evening where she shared the Hatfield family story with the women of the St. Juliana Society at St. Vladimir's. The Society supports future clergy wives through special presentations, and Mat. Thekla's talk about the years she and Chancellor/CEO The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield have ministered together in locations around the world, is always a favorite.

Matushka recalled their five years of teaching, preaching, and raising small children in South Africa, during the dangerous era of apartheid and unrest. She remarked that God's grace was always with her as she began to learn to deal with people of diverse backgrounds and persuasions. "In every parish you're going to meet with the same people in different guises," she explained. "You must learn to love the unloveable."

Khouria Krista West: Author, Tailor, Podcaster

Is beauty within the Church optional or essential? What are the origins of Orthodox Christian liturgical vestments, and what is their significance? Khouria Krista West explores the fascinating and colorful world of liturgical vesture in the first comprehensive book on this topic in the English language,  the SVS Press book The Garments of Salvation. In the Fall of 2014, Khouria visited St. Vladimir's for several days, where she spoke to the St. Juliana Society.

Learning About Christian Service

Donna Karabin, the Chairperson for the Orthodox Church in America's Department of Christian Service and Humanitarian Aid, came and spoke to the St. Juliana's Society on the evening of October 13, 2014. She introduced us to several resources (such as oca.org/resource-handbook) and elucidated the plans the OCA has for promoting the involvement of clergy and laity in caring for the needs of others, and developing ministry programs for people of all ages. 

Cooking for the Needy

By Robyn Bishop, wife of 2nd-year seminarian Ryan

On Monday night the St. Vladimir's Women's Group got together to cook for the HOPE soup kitchen, a service of HOPE Community Services located in neighboring New Rochelle, NY. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, also in New Rochelle, graciously let us use their kitchen so that we could make meat chili for 200 people. What a wonderful time!

Madre Ivonne of Hogar Orphanage Speaks to St. Juliana Society

By Jillian Rettig, wife of 2nd-year seminarian Will

"I am married too, to Christ," began Madre (Mother) Ivonne of the Hogar Rafael Ayau orphanage in Guatamala. Madre was visiting the seminary for a week in September, and on the evening of September 29, she presented her life and work to the women of the St. Juliana's Society. In her lively and engaging presentation, she spoke of the unfortunate situation of adoptions being closed in her country, and of the several thousand orphans and neglected children she and the other sisters have taken in over the years they have been administrators at the home for youth.

Campfire kicks off year of fellowship

On September 22, the Women's Group at St. Vladimir's kicked off the 2014–2015 year with a campfire and s'mores. The casual and cozy event started at 7 pm with ladies coming and going over the course of the evening. Hosted on the lawn of Dn. Gregory and Mat. Robyn Hatrak's home, the gathering continued late into the evening as women rekindled old friendships and met the newest campus residents.

St. Juliana Society Hosts Mother Nektaria

By Mat. Mary Roth

Leanne Parrott PhotographyLeanne Parrott PhotographyThe St. Juliana Society at St. Vladimir's plans a variety of events with a wide range of speakers who cover topics that have been suggested by former graduates and 2nd- and 3rd-year student wives. For one of our last meetings of the year on Monday evening, May 5, we greatly benefited from a talk offered by Mother Nektaria of the St. Paul Skete in Grand Junction, TN. 

Mother not only spoke about her journey as a nun, and of the spiritual challenges she's faced, but she also provided us with insight on how to endure our unique struggles and difficulties. Her passion for sharing her story and her exhortations that we be our "best selves," encouraged us along our own paths. She emphasized that we are not just priests' wives in the making, but unique creations of God.

Dr. Hannah Hunt, Author and Theologian, Addresses Women Students

Dr. Hunt and students at the Hatfield homeDr. Hunt and students at the Hatfield homeWhen Dr. Hannah Hunt studied theology as an undergraduate, she didn't know where it would lead. "I was newly pregnant as a student," she reminisced with the group of St. Vladimir's women students who gathered for tea in the home of Chancellor/CEO The Very Rev. Dr. Chad and Matushka Thekla Hatfield on Saturday afternoon, December 7, 2013. "My son was born during Easter break, and I started coursework for my masters degree while nursing a baby. Several years later while working on my doctorate I gave birth to our second son."

Hannah, a professor of Eastern Christian Studies, earned her PhD in Theology from the University of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England, with the thesis topic of "Spiritual Tears and Penthos (compunction) in the Early Christian Fathers." Since then, she has worn a number of hats as an author, mother, tutor, instructor, and adminstrator, as she has continued to focus on the spirituality of the early Eastern Christian Church.

Women's Group Ministers in Harlem

By Dr. Alexis Vien, wife of seminarian Brad Vien 

View the photo gallery by Leanne Parrott Photography

The Women's Group consists of seminarian wives and students; we meet several times a month for community–building activities. The first Saturday in November, we participated in the weekly food distribution at the Emmaus House in Harlem, a hospitality house inAssembling toiletry kits on campusAssembling toiletry kits on campus the Eastern Christian tradition whose mission for many years has been to serve the poor in the surrounding community.