Posted November 27, 2006 in Memorials:
How Do You Fold the Towels?

After I had been a guest at MH in 1969, I left and traveled in Europe. I was in Paris, near the Eiffel Tower, when someone came up to me and said, "You were at Madonna House!" "Yes," I said, amazed, "but how do you know?" Pointing to my jeans, he said, "Mary P. patched your jeans."

 — Patrick McConville

We’ve had our magazines in the same rack in the front room for years and years. It worked for the magazines, but the bar on the shelf for the newspapers wasn’t high enough, so they were always sliding off. There was no way you could make them neat.

One day Mary P. was struggling to do it. I was watching her, and finally she turned to me and said, frustrated, "I suppose this is easy for you."

— Fr. Bob Pelton

Despite the fact that she possessed high intelligence and came from a genteel family, Mary P., because of her limitations, could not appear to others as the person she really was. That was a cross for her for many years.

— Susanne Stubbs

At her hour of adoration, Mary P. would take out an old beaten-up list of the staff workers of Madonna House. You could see her reading each name and then praying for the person.

— Jeannine Biron

It took years, but finally just knowing Mary P. broke the lie in me that I couldn’t be holy until I got healed of my emotional problems.

— a staff worker

For a number of years, I slept two beds away from Mary P. One morning as I lay lazily in bed, my eyes fell on her, and I watched her folding her pajamas—very, very painstakingly.

When I commented on this, she said, "If you’re going to do little things well, you have to do little things well all the time."

— Paulette Curran

When Mary was living at St. Luke’s, someone who lived there with her came to me and asked, "Did the intention you asked Mary to pray for get answered?" I said, "Yes." She said, "Please tell Mary P. She’s still praying up a storm."

— Fr. Kieran Kilcommons

As she got older, Mary P. had a magnetism that drew the young people. There was one young man who was "really cool." He was the coolest. He loved Mary P. and would walk back from Mass with her, holding her hand. He said that he loved being with her because she was just like his grandmother.

— Marie-Therese McLaughlin

I’ve known Mary P. for 48 years. I slept beside her in the dormitory for ten years. I was struggling with depression during that time, and many nights I cried myself to sleep.

One night when I was doing that, Mary P. got up, knelt beside my bed, and laid her cheek on mine. It was an awesome moment. I don’t remember crying during the night after that.

— a staff worker

I picked Mary up at the train when she returned from her mother’s funeral. She showed me a glass dish of her mother’s that she had been given and said that she was going to give it to the gift shop. "Don’t you want to enjoy it for a little while first?" I asked. "No," she said, "I’ll get attached to it."

— Kathleen Janet Thompson

One night I was lying awake in bed filled with anxiety. All of a sudden, the anxiety left me. I was filled with peace and fell asleep. The next morning, Mary P., who slept in the same dormitory I did, said to me, "I woke up last night and you were on my mind. So I prayed for you."

— a staff worker

Mary P. had a large statue of St. Joseph in the sewing room. On his feastday, it was borrowed to put on display in the dining room. When she came up the stairs to the dining room and saw the statue there, she suddenly got a beautiful expression on her face. She went up to the statue, embraced it, and said, "Oh, I miss you."

— Helen Schreiner

When I was an applicant I was put in charge of the laundry when the regular person was on vacation. I was very nervous about it, but I thought that at least I didn’t have to worry about the towels. Mary P. would fold those.

However, on the first morning, she called me into the sewing room and asked me how to fold them.

I said, "You’re asking me how to fold the towels! You taught me how to do it! You’ve been doing it for years. You know how to do it better than I do. Besides, I can’t think right now. I’m a nervous wreck about this job."

Pounding the table for emphasis, she said, "Renée, you have the grace of state to tell me how to fold these towels. I want to know how you want them folded. Is it this way or that way? Even if you’re wrong, you’re right. Now, how do you want them folded?"

— Renée Sylvain

Mary P. chose to look at God rather than at her own weakness. She knew she depended on him for everything.

— Fr. Bob Pelton


If you enjoy our articles, we ask you to please consider subscribing to the print edition of Restoration; it's only $10 a year, and will help us stay in print. Thanks, and God bless you!


Restoration Contents

Next article:
It's OK to Be a Lousy Dancer

Previous article:
Restoration Gift Subscriptions



RSS 2.0RSS feed

Madonna House - A Training Centre for the Lay Apostolate