Over the course of my time living in Wisconsin, I have at least seen the outsides of most of the Orthodox Churches in the state (even the one in Cornucopia!).
One of the churches that I had not visited was the Monastery of St. John Chrysosotom in Pleasant Prairie. What makes this completely ridiculous is that we have friends whom we visit in Kenosha who live less than a mile away.
Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of very positive things about the monastery, and have even partaken of some of the delicious food that they make and sell there. (Pastitsio! Baklava!)
I was driving in the area recently and decided just to swing by. I didn’t go in the church, but the entire complex is beautiful and peaceful, even on a barren January day.
In Germany, there are still a good number of convents and monasteries around. Pretty much all of them are Roman Catholic, and very few of them have the number of monks or nuns to keep them going. I actually stayed at one of these for a very short time in 2002. The convent and its grounds were in the heart of Munich, but the nuns who ran the place were mostly advanced in age, and there weren’t many left. As a result, they had converted part of the premises to private student housing for women. At that time, it was still an incredible peaceful place. It just seems so different to find that sort of place not just in the United States, but in a place so “hidden in plain sight” in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.