Just as seed is scattered throughout a field, the Gospel of Christ also is planted in many ways. Over the years, our apostolate of Madonna House has established more than two dozen field houses over the years, which today are scattered like seed throughout the world. Our field houses are an outgrowth of the main Training Centre in Combermere, Ontario, Canada.
When our first field house opened in 1954, taking with it a quarter of the existing staff, it was a call to deeper faith in God to provide more staff for the work necessary in Combermere. This happened.
Since then, more field houses were established, each at the request of a local bishop of a diocese. Each field house is a little different, and each has its own distinct mandate, according to the needs of the diocese. For instance, two of our houses serve the poor with soup kitchens, some are “prayer and listening” houses, while others combine all the aspects of neighbourly services. Catherine Doherty, our foundress, said one of the most pressing problems of modern people is not material deprivation, such as food and shelter, but rather loneliness and a need for someone to listen to them. Our prayer-listening houses do exactly that, over a friendly cup of tea or coffee.
Each field house is staffed by Madonna House staff members who have received formation in Combermere and who have committed their lives to love of God and love of neighbour.
We consider each field house another “room” of Madonna House, even though, geographically, they may be on the other side of the world! Each of these houses has the same spirit of Nazareth, being little and hidden, and is a place where we try to be at home with Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Just like the rest of our family in Combermere, our staff in the field are committed to living the Gospel message of Christ through loving one another, maintaining a life of prayer, and doing the duty of the moment, whatever it may be. And, like the staff in Combermere, our field houses live each day, to the best of their ability, the Little Mandate.
The present field houses of Madonna House are listed here. Also, some individual staff are studying in seminary for the priesthood, while others are in the West Indies and Asia as lone apostles.