"Why did you let Maria Ivanovna out into the world? Bring her back," the abbess said to her. Mother Dorothea went off for her.
"Maria Ivanovna, will you come with me?"
They immediately placed her on a cart covered with a red cotton blanket, and brought her to Elizarevo. Where could they hide her? They went to get an answer from Fr. Michael and Fr. James, and spent the whole winter there. In the spring they brought her to Diveyevo, to the deaf and mute brother and sister who lived there. And in the spring of 1930 they brought the blessed one to a farmstead near Pochinok, and then, finally, to Cherevatova.
Sometimes she would curse, and sometimes, when the nuns came to her, she would say tenderly:
"Look, my kittens have arrived!"
Nun Seraphima (Bulgakova) and Tonya (she ended her life as Nun Seraphim in the Pokrov monastery in Kiev) often went to her.
Once Tonya said:
"You keep talking about a monastery, Maria Ivanovna. There won't be a monastery!"
"There will! There will! There will!" And she banged with her hand on the table with all her might. She would have broken her hand if they had not put a cushion on the table to make it less painful for her.
Nun Seraphima remembers how Maria Ivanovna would give obediences in the convent: "Some had to rake hay, some had to clean the canal of the Mother of God; to others she gave other obediences. But to me she would never give anything, so I said to her,
"'Maria Ivanovna, will I live until there will be a monastery again?'
"'Yes, you will live,' and she squeezed my hand tightly and pressed it to the table."
Mother Seraphima was the only nun who survived until the opening of the monastery.
To one sister she said:
"Don't worry. You will all be in a convent. Only instead of your names, you will all have numbers."
Pointing at one sister she said her number would be 338.
"I remembered this number," this sister recalls, "and when we were in jail this was the number they gave me. So that was the convent for us."
In Arzamas, in banishment, there were over 2,000 nuns from two closed convents, that of Nikolayevsky and Alexeyevsky, as well as that of Diveyevo. One of the nuns who was in prison saw a dream. St. Seraphim was conducting two nuns into the yard saying,
"I am conducting my beloved ones into the prison."
And as she woke up she looked through the window; the two sisters were waking up.
At the same time the daughter of Metropolitan Seraphim (Chichagov) of Leningrad (author of The Diveyevo Chronicle and the Service to St. Seraphim) saw a dream: at a table nuns were sitting, and the Queen of Heaven was indicating which of the nuns was to be taken to prison.
Another woman relates: "Before her death, Maria Ivanovna would tell all her close ones how much they would read kathismas for her soul during the 40 days. And all that came to pass. To me she said, when I saw her last in October of 1930,
"'But you will not read even a single kathisma for me.'
"And in truth, I read nothing. I remembered her words only after the 40 days, when I found out about her death, but it was too late."
She died on the 26th of August, 1931, on the night of the feast day of the Vladimir Mother of God.
That night there was a terrible storm. They buried her there in the Cherivatova cemetery.
In the Kazan church of Diveyevo, which had been built by Abbess Alexandra, there were two priests and complete daily services. The priest there, Paul Peruansky, died on Pascha, April 7, 1938, in the Arzamas prison. They say that not long before his arrest they summoned him and asked:
"Are you a pastor or a hireling?"
"I am a pastor."
But the other priest, Fr. Simeon, in the 1930s, because of human weakness, renounced the priesthood and worked in a factory in Vyatka. The peasants recalled that once he came to Diveyevo, and in Arzamas he asked to be given a lift in an open truck. But when they recognized him they gave him a privileged place in the truck cabin. He refused and lay on the load in the back of the truck and wept the whole way. He died in the factory.
There was also Deacon Michael Lilov. He had many children and lived in poverty. It was so difficult for him that he decided to defrock himself. But then he had a vision: the Diveyevo Abbess-Foundress Alexandra appeared to him. It was remembered of him that on Great Passion Wednesday, when he read the Gospel during the Liturgy, he would burst into tears. He died together with Fr. Paul in the Arzamas prison.
(Sources: Pravoslavnaya Rus', No 13 (1442), July 1/14, 1991, p. 16; Pravoslavnaya Rus', no. 22 (1451), 15/28 November, 1991, p. 6; "Blessed Fool-for-Christ Maria Ivanovna of Diveyevo", The Orthodox Word, vol. 27, no. 2 (157), March-April 1991; "Iz vospominanij Arkhiepiskopa Leontiya", Russkij Pastyr', 14, III, 1992, p. 70; Protopresbyter Michael Polsky, Noviye Mucheniki Rossijskiye, Jordanville, 1957, part 2, p. 228; "Episkop Varnava", Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', NN 3,5, 1993; "Diveyevskoye predaniye", Pravoslavnaya Zhizn', N 9 (524), September, 1993, pp. 15-27; Krest na Krasnom Obryve, Moscow, 1996, pp. 119-121)
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