Posted July 05, 2012 in My Dear Family:
A Paper With a Punch

by Catherine Doherty.

Ever since the foundation of our first house, called Friendship House, in Toronto in 1930, I realized the need for an apostolic newspaper.

This paper would present the principles and truths of our faith, but with a slant directed to modern people and their problems and to the conditions of the world. It would call all Christians to apply the principles of the Gospel to their lives.

This dream of mine first came true in 1936 when the first paper of our apostolate was published under the name, Social Forum. It was Depression time, and this paper was directed very much to the problems of labor and social justice and discussed the papal encyclicals.

Then we opened Friendship House in Harlem, an African-American section of New York City. In the latter part of 1939, we started another newspaper, dedicated to the field of interracial justice.

It was called, successively, Friendship House News, Catholic Interracialist, Community—the change of names showing the growth of the vision and the works of the apostolate.

For what is good at one time may be obsolete as time goes on. A newspaper needs to be pliant, not bound by the deadening hand of its past traditions. Otherwise, it is not a useful tool.

It can start small, feel its way, learn by experience. Then it can become a good paper.

When we came to Combermere in 1947, the need for a newspaper was again apparent. I summed up the general apostolate of Madonna House Combermere as "restoring the world to Christ," so I called the paper "Restoration." REST—ORA—TION.

It had come to me, after much thought, that this word embodied the very foundation of our apostolate. "Rest" meant to me "rest in God," "contemplation." "Ora," which means "prayer," meant both our prayer life and our work, for to pray is to work and to work is to pray.

In 1947 we did not know where we were going. We were here for a rural apostolate, but we were feeling our way. One has to always wait for God’s timetables. Restoration grew slowly.

In it, we published news of our apostolate, which seemed to interest our readers. Our policy is to keep the paper intimate, simple, and humble—as I hope we ourselves are.

In Restoration, we repeat, hopefully with imagination and originality, the main tenets of our faith: God loved you first; our whole religion consists in loving him back; behold the pain of Christ; go to Jesus through Mary. In various story forms we present many thoughts.

We want to be a little paper with a punch, a paper that presents the infinite ideas of God and the things of God. We are wide open to anything that will foster the love of God, love for his Church, and the realization that if we continue to live without God in this mad and tragic world, we will perish.

Restoration is a very simple little paper. We allow time and the grace of God to direct our writing. We think it is a very profound little paper.

Adapted from The People of the Towel and the Water, (2010), pp. 126-127, available from MH Publications



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