by Kathy McVady.
One of the unique blessings of Madonna House Winslow was extended visits of our founders, Eddie and Catherine Doherty.
When I arrived in Winslow in January of 1969 as a shiny new staffworker, Eddie was there to welcome me. Because of his heart condition, his physician had encouraged yearly visits to Arizona where daily walks in pursuit of his beloved petrified wood were a great boost to his health. (Winters in the snows of Combermere precluded such exercise.)
Eddie also greeted me with the news that he was soon to be ordained a priest in the Melkite Rite.
Often at night we would find him wide awake, engulfed in the wonder that his dream of priesthood was truly approaching.
When he returned the next year, we witnessed the blossoming of his priesthood especially in his pouring forth of the mercy of God on all who came to him.
Fr. Eddie’s life with us taught us to live with mystery, and his stories brought alive for us the history of our Madonna House family. His humility was a vibrant example, and his tender love for Catherine encouraged our hearts to open to her more fully.
Thus when, a couple of years after Fr. Eddie’s death, Catherine herself needed a place for an extended rest, our hearts as well as our house were prepared to receive her. The people of Winslow, too, were able to receive her very gently.
One woman put words to this gentleness. "I don’t have to see her," she said, "I don’t have to talk with her. Just knowing she is living in that little pink house brings peace and joy to my heart."
It was to this atmosphere that Catherine returned for rest and restoration several times in her later years, and here that she returned the love she received from the people.
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