Royal Monastic: Princess Ileana of Romania
by Bev Cooke. Published by Conciliar Press (2008).
Royal Monastic: Princess Ileana of Romania is not only an account of the life of an Orthodox Romanian Princess and her intense spiritual struggles, but a thorough history book.
The book documents her life from her birth as Princess Ileana, to her death as Mother Alexandra, and at every moment she continuously practiced her Orthodox Faith and expressed her love for God. The book begins with a recount of the Princess’ highly anticipated birth, vividly highlighting the overwhelming love and respect she received from her country, Romania. As she grew up, she powerfully reciprocated those feelings and had an undying connection to her people, evident in her commitment to charity work and hospital visits from as young as 7 years old. As Princess Ileana grew older, her spiritual struggles also grew in size. She was forced to live under Nazi and Communist rule for almost 20 years, and when the connection to her people was finally severed, she said she was “as one dead”. Princess Ileana eventually found peace in monastic life, and was soon a sister in the Monastery of the Protection of the Veil of the Mother of God in Bussy-en-Othe, Burgundy, France. Sister Ileana lived on to become Mother Alexandra, and in 1991, finally slept in the Lord.
This book easily stood out to me when I saw that it was about the life of a Princess. It is interesting to see God’s role in her life, and you are left in awe with how faithful she was to have been able to see angels from such a young age. Her emotional struggles with her family and country are uplifting, and the confidence she possesses towards her faith is astounding. Royal Monastic is a book that I would definitely recommend to any Orthodox Christian and is something all should look to for inspiration.
“My last prayer is that the Lord God let the light of His face shine upon and bestow upon you the joy that no man can take from you, Amen.” – Mother Alexandra.
Source: April – May 2016 Lychnos Edition