Monastery secluded by secrecy

The monastic community of Our Lady of Solitude begun in 2004 in Apolachon Township, Susquehanna County, consists of this cloister which also is home to an egg-raising and dairy goat farm. STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

and STACI WILSON

Our Lady of Solitude Monastery in northwestern Susquehanna County, where at least three sexual indiscretions are alleged to have occurred between its administrator, Rev. Angelus Ferrara, and a teen boy this past fall and winter, is itself a bit of a mystery to its neighbors.

County court records show that two parcels of land were purchased in 2004.

In January of 2004, the Diocese of Newton for Melkites in the US, Inc. with an address listed as 3 VFW Parkway, Rosindale, Mass., acquired a 16-acre parcel in Apolacon and Middletown Townships from the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for $69,200.

This parcel is essentially what is referred to on the ground as the ‘cloister’ where monks raise eggs and dairy goats, according to the monastery’s website.

In October of 2004, the Society of Annunciation, with a Leraysville post office box address, also purchased 23.45 acres from the Conklin family in Middletown Township for $80,000.

This parcel is about a half-mile south of the other and includes a retreat center.

Angelus Ferrara, signed a ‘Clean and Green’ filing for the “Greek Catholic Church” in 2005 that is recorded in the Susquehanna County courthouse.

Angelus Ferrara also acted on behalf of the diocese and entered into an oil and gas lease with Alta Resources in June 2009.

There is a little background about Our Lady of Solitude Monastery on the Melkites Facebook page: “Fr. Angelus Ferrara is the heiromonk superior of the foundation and hopes to develop a flourishing monastery full of zealous and prayerful monks dedicated to bringing Eastern monasticism to occidental countries.”

Calls to the monastery to determine how many monks were presently serving there and if Rev. Ferrara was still in charge were not returned on Tuesday.

The Melkite Greek Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic (Byzantine) Church in full union with the Roman Catholic Church rooted in Lebanon and the Middle East.

In 2010, there were 59,704 Melkite Catholics in the United States and Canada, with parishes in 18 states.

Father Angelus Ferrara was also formerly affiliated in 2001 with the Mother Mary of God Monastery in Sybertsville where he was a member of the Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit.

Ferrara continues to be listed as the signee for the Society for the Annunciation of the Lord, a tax-exempt organization in Luzerne County created in 1946, ostensibly to take care of the finances of the Sybertsville monastery.