Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
Archpriest Steven C. Kostoff
4285 Ashland Ave, Cincinnati OH 45212 - (513) 351-0907


We are pleased to announce that our Autumn Retreat, featuring special guest speaker Madre Ivonne from the Hogar Rafael Ayau Orthodox Christian Orphanage in Guatemala City, Guatemala, was a wonderful success. Glory to God for all things!

Below are articles and photos covering Madre Ivonne's two talks from the retreat.

We offer a Special Hogar Rafael Ayau page here on our website,featuring a history of our parish's involvement with the Hogar, and coverage of past mission trips.

Retreat Recaps

Originally posted Oct. 16, 2008


Healing Abandoned Children at Hogar Rafael Ayau

by Frances Fowler-Collins

It is difficult to raise children well under any circumstances, but it is especially difficult when all the children in question have been abandoned and most have also been abused...

Madre Ivonne and two other Orthodox nuns operate the “Hogar,” or Home, an orphanage that shelters about 100 Guatemalan children of both sexes, ranging in age from infancy to the mid-teens. The nuns’ work with the children is shaped by a coherent theory about how children, including children who desperately need physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, should be brought up. Full article here...

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A Reflection on the Retreat, from Father Steven...

Dear Parish Faithful and Friends in Christ,

To begin: I believe that we had an outstanding retreat. I expected as such, but the retreat clearly exceeded my expectations. This, of course, was primarily due to the preparation and presentations of Madre Ivonne. For ultimately, the success of a retreat is dependent upon the retreat's leader or main speaker. Madre Ivonne not only did not disappoint us, but she also inspired us by revealing to us what a person with strong faith in Christ can accomplish. Full article here...

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Miracles Mark Story of Guatemalan Orphanage

by Francis Fowler-Collins

“Miracle after miracle.” That is how Madre Ivonne Sommerkamp described her twelve years at the Hogar Rafael Ayau in Guatemala City. Full article here...

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The Money Trail - Retreat Donations Reach Almost $6K!

From Fr. Steven:

Dear Parish Faithful,

I must begin with a confession: apparently, I am a man of "little faith." Based upon on the fact that we have had two very extensive fundraising drives over the course of the last year-and-a-half or so, we did not make a special collection for the Hogar in anticipation of Madre Ivonne's visit here. The decision was to allow for all of the money collected as registration fees/donations for the Retreat to go to the Hogar. Full article here...


2008 Retreat Slide Show

Madre Ivonne of the Hogar Leads Inspiring Retreat - 09/27/08

(14 images)