Each year as we approach the holy season of Advent, we become more conscious that Madonna House is Our Lady’s house, modeled on that holy house in Nazareth where simplicity and harmony reigned and where the door was always open to welcome anyone who came.
We are constantly being challenged to grow in faith, hope, and love and in "the hospitality of the house and heart" and Catherine called it. Please pray for us that our hearts will continue to burn with love for each visitor who comes through our blue door.
Each department has its own way of making those who come feel at home. And we count on you to help us provide a welcoming environment for them through both your prayers and your material help.
Now that the gift shop is on its winter schedule of being open only three days a week, the staff there are concentrating on reaching out to the far corners of the earth with the proceeds from the summer sales. As most of you know, all the money earned goes to the poor through the missionaries. (That’s why we call it "a mission shop.")
Since all the merchandise is donated, without your generosity, it could not exist. Thank you for all you have sent and are continuing to send.
The gift shop staff will soon be busy with Christmas shoppers and they need to replenish their stock. Almost anything that is saleable is appreciated, but here are some suggestions—a short list of things people often ask for: serving bowls for food; clip-on earrings; bracelets; antique thimbles, scissors, and needle holders; and small statues.
We could also use some crèche sets. We’ve recently turned our flea market in a Christmas shop, and it is very popular.
Also, do you have any large and small bone china plates with matching patterns? The two and three-tiered cake plates we are making from them are selling well.
The staff of our handicraft center thank you for the lovely donation of floral foam. We use these oasis blocks all year round, and so, if you have any more, we would be happy to have them. Floral weld would also be most welcome.
Now that Cana is over and everything cleaned and put away, Joanne Weisbeck has made a list of what is needed for next year: sturdy sand shovels for beach play, fridge magnets for such messages as, ""Leave the chocolate cake for supper," a set of oars and some whistles for row boats. (Whistles are now required by law.)
Oh yes, how about some beads for children’s crafts? Do you have any you could send?
The sacristan is asking for non-toxic polishing cream for brass and copper, such as Met-All, and for your parish’s leftover Easter Vigil candles and drip-catchers. She will clean them for our use.
The caregivers for our elderly need incontinency supplies: disposable briefs for both men and women, "baby wipes," and large-size disposable latex gloves.
Our office needs are minimal this month: just #10 envelopes and any extra 2007 calendars.
Some small household needs have cropped up: spray bottles, small hand soap bottles with pumps, colored plastic pitchers that are used with the one-liter bags of milk, book matches, and tennis balls. (We use the tennis balls on the legs of chairs to prevent them from scratching.)
Head gardener Mary Davis reports that several of her leaf rakes have worn out. So she needs some new ones for next year, and also some bonemeal.
By the time you receive this paper, Advent will be on the horizon. Like you we will be making efforts to still our hearts in preparation for the birth of Our Savior. We take this opportunity to wish each of you a grace-filled Advent and a joyous Christmas. Let us pray for each other in the coming year.
In Our Lady of Combermere,
Susanne Stubbs and Mark Schlingerman (December 2006)
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!