Programs for Visiting Guests

Programs for Visiting Guests

Volunteer Working Guests

We welcome men and women in good health, usually between the ages of 19-35, to come to Madonna House in Combermere to stay for varying lengths of time as guests. (The minimum stay is one week.) Our guests come from various countries as well as diverse cultural and racial backgrounds. All volunteer to take part in the life of the community, with a balance of work, prayer, study, and recreation. They share in our ordinary daily life, in order to learn the extraordinary truth of God’s presence in every moment of life.

They take part in the life of a loving Christian family that lives in voluntary poverty, celibate chastity, and obedience, as they learn to incarnate the Gospel in simple ways, to pray, and to listen to the Lord speak in their own life. We invite you to experience this fullness of Gospel life with its joys and challenges, sharing our Madonna House life whenever you come, and however long you may stay.

Our life includes:

There is no set fee for a visit to Madonna House. As we are beggars, we appreciate any donations our guests are able to offer.

In addition to the experience of joining in our community life, we offer additional activities through the year:

Fall Program (October through early January)

Winter Program (January through Easter Sunday)

Summer Program (July and August)

In the summer, we offer a special program which some have described as “our normal Madonna House life, with more explanations.” Each summer we choose an overall theme, and each week covers a different topic related to that theme. These topics are elaborated in our daily spiritual readings, teachings and witnesses by the Staff, and a weekly class by one of our priests. A long-standing summer tradition from Catherine’s time has been a Saturday evening open forum, offering our guests the opportunity to ask our directors general any questions they may have about faith, the spiritual life, the Church, Madonna House, etc.

There may be any variety of other activities from weeding bees at the farm to square dancing in the sorting building, from an evening of dramatic presentations to a day of recollection. Each summer is different. But we find that God touches the hearts of our visitors through the varied activities as well as the nitty-gritty of our day-to-day work and community life.

Summer Program Schedule for 2016

Mercy: The Bridge That Connects God With Man

July 2–9
The Smell of the Sheep
Mercy and the Human Condition
July 9–16
The Beauty of the Saviour
July 16–23
The Ingenuity of Love
New Paths of Mercy in the World
July 23–30
Building Bridges
From Judgement to Compassion
July 30–Aug. 6
Sheep to Sheep
Apostles of Mercy

PDF Click here to download our printable Summer Program flyer.

If you are thinking about joining us for this year’s Summer program, you might like to read this article about an earlier summer program experience.

Our Daily Schedule

All guests are asked to participate fully in our daily schedule of work, prayer, and recreation. The daily routine follows:

We rise at 6:45 a.m. and gather together for morning prayer at 8:00 a.m. Breakfast of porridge, yogurt, brown bread and tea follows at 8:30. We go to our various working places at 9:00 and stay there until noon. Most of our work is manual: laundry, carpentry, gardening, canning, painting, cleaning, maintenance, washing dishes, etc.

We have our main meal at noon, followed by spiritual reading in common, usually from the writings of the Fathers of the Church, spiritual writers, current events, the writings of the Pope, as well as Catherine Doherty our foundress. Work then continues from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. with a break in mid-afternoon for tea.

Courses, lectures and study are often held in the late afternoon and early evening, depending on the season.

We celebrate Mass at 5:15 p.m. The liturgy is the culmination of the entire day. As Catherine loved to say, “We live our life between two Masses.”

At 6:00 p.m. we have supper, usually consisting of soup, a vegetable, cheese or grains. After supper we clean vegetables, wash dishes, or do other chores. By 7:30 p.m., there may be a talk or dorm gathering, or free time. At 9:00 p.m., we gather again for tea and conversation. At 9:45 p.m., we go to our dormitories and get ready for bed, turning our lights out at 11:00 p.m.

Preparing for Your Visit

Important reading for those planning a visit with us:

How to Contact Us

Persons interested in visiting Madonna House can write to the appropriate registrar of Women, Men, or Priests at the address below. Reservations are required.

Registrar of Women / Men / Priests
Madonna House Apostolate
2888 Dafoe Rd
RR 2
Combermere ON   K0J 1L0

Phone: 613-756-3713

When you contact us, please remember to include your full name and complete postal mailing address.

Thinking of visiting?

Be sure to have a look at the on-line tour of our main house here on our site.

PDF We also have these PDF flyers that you can print:

Travel directions and map

Madonna House - A Training Centre for the Lay Apostolate