Posted September 25, 2008 in MH Combermere ON:
Notes from Near and Far: St. Joseph’s House, Combermere

by Alma Coffman.

Life at St. Joe’s is never dull. One day, I was making a birthday cake, and when I turned the cake out of the pan, I knew I was in trouble. The bottom was still gooey, unbaked dough. I turned the cake upside down and stuck it in the oven to finish baking. Now started the saga of getting a new stove.

A nice looking one had come in donation recently, and we brought it into the kitchen. But upon starting to clean it, we found that some mice had been removing the insulation. Then when we turned it on, it started to smell and smoke.

Neil and Sherman carried it out into the yard where they cleaned and disinfected it and put in totally new insulation.

For the next two weeks it was touch and go as we continued to clean and clean. In the name of poverty how far should we go? After hours of elbow grease, we ended up with a nice-looking stove that works well and smells only of edible, baked goods.

On June 8, two of our St. Joseph’s House staff made their promises as Madonna House staff. Neil made first promises, and Joanne Kuntz made first renewals.

Two days later, Jo-Anne Paquette brought home some new day-old chicks which were to grow into this year’s fifteen meat birds and twenty-five laying hens.

That evening as Jo-Anne was talking on the phone, she noticed smoke coming from the roof of the chick house. The heat lamp had caught the floor shavings on fire. She phoned 911.

Fr. Louis Labrecque was just driving by and stopped in at the sight of smoke. With his help and the combined efforts of Jo-Anne, Teresa, and Joanne K., they poured water on the other wooden chicken house which was only 32 inches away from the burning one.

In ten minutes the fire truck was here and soon had the fire under control and contained within the one chick house. The maple trees, on the other side of the chicken yard have scorched leaves up about thirty feet high.

We now have the start of a new chicken house given to us by our neighbors, David and Pat Henstock, and new chicks are on order. We thank God for his protection.

Four days after the fire, Diane Davis and I, along with fifty plus others of the Pembroke Diocese, were on our way to the Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City.


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One Man's Scrap, Another Man's Gold (September 2008)



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