Notes from Near and Far: Regina

by Christine Herlihy

I have been in Regina for over eight months now, and I am still adjusting to city life. Leaving Madonna House England on the beautiful coast of North Yorkshire and coming here was a bit of a jolt. But God is everywhere, and he is revealing himself daily to me as I say yes to this new (to me) room of Madonna House.

Like all our houses, Marian Centre is a place of hospitality and friendship. Each day our first floor reverberates with the sounds of volunteers chopping vegetables and the men we serve visiting with each other over a cup of coffee or a game of cards.

Life is full to the brim. And God is here, revealing himself in every face, in every pain, confusion, anger, despair and, yes, joy and hope.

Since I work in the office, I only pass through our soup kitchen once or twice a day. But as I say good morning or good afternoon to the people there and look into their weary faces, I am blessed with smiles that warm my soul.

The blessing continues as I sit down to tea with our volunteers. I listen to a multitude of stories but even when they are carrying heavy burdens, these volunteers continue to come here to serve.

Walking downtown, I am often struck by the multi-cultural aspect of this city. This has also become a part of Marian Centre. One of our new volunteers is from Venezuela; another from El Salvador, and still another two are from Burundi and Peru.

Our close neighbours are from Bangladesh and a friend from Nigeria uses our parking lot. Our little world expands as these new friends tell us about the struggles in their countries. Marian Centre is a safe refuge for many.

And of course we cannot leave out our Colombian connection via our own director, Hugo Isaza. Through him, many Columbians have come to our house, and it is a joy to share time and a meal with them.

As I come to the end of these notes, I am looking out onto the sunny prairie skies. What a gift the sun is! It makes the cold a bit more bearable. But this is not my final word.

My final word is the one Fr. David May gave us in a recent retreat. “Cling to Jesus.” In this uncertain, violent, and fractured world, let us all cling to Jesus: our life, our joy and our only hope.