Catherine Doherty was a woman in love with God. The implications of that love story, as it unfolded throughout her life, brought her enough adventure, heartbreak and joy to fill several lifetimes.
Catherine survived — and her love of God was tested and grew — through two World Wars, the Russian Revolution, and the Great Depression. She experienced being a refugee, knew the pain of a broken marriage and the struggles of single parenthood. She knew the privileged life of aristocratic wealth, as well as the grinding poverty and uncertainty of a refugee.
Through it all, her faith in God and love for him remained intact and lead her to work with the poor in small, humble ways, forsaking material comforts in order to do so.
Her work in social justice in both Canada and the United States lead to the establishment of Friendship House, and later the community called Madonna House. Since Catherine's death in 1985, her apostolate has grown to number more than 200 members, with two-dozen field houses throughout the world.
Note: Catherine Doherty's life story is fascinating and complex. Here on our web site, we look at Catherine's life from the perspective of her as the foundress of Madonna House. However, it is worth mentioning that much more biographical information about her is also available in print:
On-line, you can also read the biography of Catherine on her cause web site.