Posted December 29, 2010:
A Bishop’s Prophecy

by Catherine Doherty.

In the very beginning, it was Archbishop Neil McNeil of Toronto who gave Catherine the confirmation she needed to begin her apostolate. Just a few years later, in 1933, he again confirmed her vocation—this time in a powerful way. Here is the story in Catherine’s words:

By the fall of 1933 it was evident the archbishop was failing. … He contracted an infection… and he didn.t have the resistance necessary to overcome it. He was in the hospital in a private room.

We were all praying for him. In fact all of Canada was, especially his diocese, because he was dearly beloved by all—not only by his own flock but by the Jews and Protestants as well.

I was surprised when his secretary telephoned me to go at once to the hospital and to his room. I went immediately, spending some quickly borrowed cash on a taxi even.

In a feeble voice, he bade me to kneel by his bed, and putting his hand on my head he said, haltingly, pausing often, and resting himself:

"Catherine, I called you to tell you, to beg you, to persevere. If you do, your apostolate will cover the world.

"But you must know, understand, realize, now, that you are going to suffer very much. I called you because I see your sufferings. The eyes of death make my sight clear."

I have been praying much for you. I wanted to see you. You are the least of my flock. That is why I saw you first before my priests. I will pray for you before the face of God when I get there.

"But now I beg you, as the father of your soul, as you always called me, to persevere. The Church will need the lay apostolate in the decades to come, and you are pioneering it. God has specially called you. Now I will bless you for that perseverance."

This he did, in a fairly long Latin blessing. Then he allowed me to kiss his ring. He made a big Sign of the Cross and gently bade me to go. His last words, spoken weakly as I walked out, were, "Persevere, child. Persevere, notwithstanding all the trials to come."

From The History of the Apostolate of Friendship House and Madonna House, Vol. 1, (1962), pp. 93-94, unpublished


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