The scented soap in the November box came from the Hermitage of the Holy Cross. The Hermitage was founded in 1986 in House Springs, Missouri, where it grew over the course of fourteen years. The brotherhood received an offer of land in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia. The Hermitage moved in May of 2000 and were welcomed shortly after with a heard of Nubian goats that were donated to the monastery. Prior to the goats’ arrival, the monks supported themselves by making incense but they decided to give soap making a try. Today, their incense and soap products are shipped around the globe.
Everything the monks make at the Hermitage is done with prayer and a blessing. It is their hope that people who come in contact with the monastery and its products will also encounter the prayerful spirit with which they were made. Proceeds from their shop are used to sustain their community, provide hospitality to the pilgrims who visit throughout the year, and to give alms to those in need.
The patron saint of their monastery is St. Panteleimon. He was a physician martyred in the early 300’s and had a boldness before God on behalf of those suffering from physical, mental, or spiritual ailments. Due to their experience of his overwhelming care for their brotherhood, the pilgrims and all those who call upon him with faith, he is affectionately referred to by the monastics as their “primary care physician.”
If you’d like to find the Hermitage of the Holy Cross online, you can find them: