Just as our Lord Jesus Christ took three of his disciples, Peter, James and John for retreat and prayer to the top of Mount Tabor, and there He was transfigured and seen in the uncreated light, so did a similar phenomena occur in the life of the venerable abbess, Mother Erene. In September 1996, Mother Erene was on her annual retreat in the company of three nuns in Agiba, near the Mediterranean. There were no visitors at that time of the year. One of the nuns recounted the following:
“One day we went walking on the beach. Mother told us ‘Let each one of us go in a certain direction to pray. But let us not be too far from each other.’ I told her, ‘Mother, I would like to stay with you.’ She told me, ‘Go with your sisters. I want to be on my own.’ But I said to her, ‘I can’t leave you. Even when I am with you, you will be alone. Consider me not there and be yourself.’
I knelt down next to her on the sand. But Mother stood erect for prayers. The moment she raised up her hands and said, ‘Oh, Lord God, the Pantocrator,’ her voice sounded as strong as thunder. It was as if it were coming from behind the clouds. I also beheld a strong light, stronger than that of the sun, and smelt a stronger aroma of incense than I have ever smelt before. I felt as if the heavens were open and we were really in the presence of the Immortal God who can be felt and touched if I am using the right words. I was overwhelmed by great fear. I shivered all over as if the earth were shaking beneath me. I could not hear or see anything else. I do not know how much time had passed while I was in that state. I only became conscious when Mother gently patted my shoulder while telling me, ‘Daughter, what is wrong?’
When I looked at her face, I saw it shining with amazing white light that was very strong. It pierced my heart and filled me with indescribable peace and heavenly joy. This added fear to my fear and I asked her, ‘Mother, where are we?’
She answered, “We are here praying. Have you seen how sweet our Christ is? I replied spontaneously, ‘Mother, indeed, we do not know how to pray.’ It was then that I understood what she wanted to tell me. It was like when Christ opened His disciples’ understanding to comprehend the Holy Scriptures.
Ref: Mother Erene – A torch of love dazzling in the Coptic Monastic Life (Book 6), p. 33