Posted February 04, 2011:
A Lifetime of Longing

by Diane Kunz.

When people become applicants (novices), they do a short, simple, write-up of how they came to Madonna House. Here, with only slight editing, is what Diane wrote.

My coming to Madonna House began when I was a pre-school child. My mother was a cook for priests with nuns assisting her.

I sat on priests’ laps, and the nuns would talk to me. Because I was little, my eyes fell on the nuns’ beads with a Corpus on a cross which hung on the side of their black habits.

From there on, I was attracted to the cross. It held a mystery for me. …

Growing up, though I wasn’t Catholic, I had an intense desire for the Eucharist, believing it to be the Body and Blood of Jesus.

I was also attracted to the Catholic Church—to seeing Catholics making the Sign of the Cross, the lines outside of church with people waiting for confession, and to priests and nuns.

At age twelve, I would go inside the church and sit listening to the priests in Latin. Later on, I dated a Catholic man and started taking instructions in the Catholic faith, but while I was taking them, I met and married a Lutheran minister.

During our eighteen years of marriage, he struggled with guilt because he had to split his time between church and family.

I struggled with everything: church, husband, family, myself. I began to see most of my life as a struggle and pain and suffering. I had many years of psychotherapy.

I knew Fr. Pat McNulty from when he was in Fort Wayne, Indiana (where I lived), and in 1968, our family came to visit him in Combermere. He was then an associate priest of MH temporarily living in poustinia in Madonna House.

I met Catherine Doherty and was attracted to this married woman living around clergy in community in a cabin in the woods.

That visit, me being Protestant, I was denied the Eucharist. I broke down and wept.

A few years after that, my husband filed for divorce. I saw Fr. Pat McNulty (he was back in Fort Wayne then) fingering beads, beads like I saw on the nuns’ habits as a pre-school child. He became my spiritual director and taught me the Jesus Prayer. I became a Catholic and visited Madonna House again.

Fr. Pat gave me the book, Poustinia, to read, and in it, I caught a glimpse of myself. There was an excitement that remained in my heart.

By then, my three children were raised. Fr. Pat acquired two houses in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to use for people to make poustinias.

I went to help restore these houses as well as work on maintenance at the cathedral for nine months. Then I stayed on and lived in this poustinia house for six years. During those six years, I was to and from Madonna House staying two to eight months at a time.

After those six years, I was called to the marketplace of the carnival. We were always traveling, so I could not go to church. I grieved and wept and felt the presence of the desert.

I believe that before I left Madonna House that last time before going to the carnival, I heard the Spirit of God say within me that he would call me back to Madonna House.

I would ask "When, Lord, are you going to call me back to Madonna House?"

The call came and I believed it. I had to be patient and wait, and God gave me the strength and joy to wait.

Then Catherine showed me through the love of her mother’s heart that lived in the hearts of Jean Fox and Fr. Pat and Fr. Wild that all those years of my life God had been preparing me for Madonna House.


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