Books for Monastic Seekers: ‘Letters to a Beginner on Giving One’s Life to God’

For the first of a new series of blog posts, I would like to share a thin but extremely weighty and important book which was recommended to me several years ago when  I was preparing to test the monastic life:

Letters to a Beginner on Giving One’s Life to God

by Abbess Thaisia of Leushino, St Herman of Alaska Press:


“The work of success in your monastic life—the work of your salvation, is, so to speak, in your own hands; and would it not be a shame, would it not be sad, to lose it from your hands irretrievably?”


This book was so popular and beneficial for those leading a spiritual life in pre-Revolutionary Russia that it was reprinted several times and distributed to all monasteries, sketes, and many parishes. It was a key guidebook for women monastic aspirants, giving them a right understanding of how to dedicate their lives to God.

If one reads Abbess Thaisia’s letters on spiritual life with a discerning eye—not relegating the principles in them solely to the realm of monastic experience—they can be soberly used among the spiritually struggling people of our modern urban society. These letters lead us to a prayerful life, a life in which our feet are firmly planted on earth while our hearts are abiding in heaven. The chapters include “On Idle Talk and Gossip,” “On the Inevitability of Sorrows,” “On Illnesses and Their Cures,” and “On Interior Prayer.”

“If you think to find paradise on earth, even in a monastery, then you are very mistaken. Paradise—full blessedness—does not exist on earth, and cannot, because man was not created for earth, but for heaven.”


We are all truly novices and beginners … we can all benefit from these instructions by a spiritual heroine of the 20th century and a spiritual mother of Holy Russia. Abbess Thaisia tells us exactly what it means to give our lives wholly to God, and encourages us to endure to the end on the narrow path that leads to His Kingdom.

110 pages, illustrated, full-color cover, paperback.

Order online here.

2 thoughts on “Books for Monastic Seekers: ‘Letters to a Beginner on Giving One’s Life to God’

  1. Pingback: Books for Monastic Seekers: ‘The Arena’ – The North American Thebaid

  2. Pingback: Books for Monastic Seekers: ‘Recollections of Mount Athos’ – The North American Thebaid

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