by Emmanuella Kim.
Last February, we attended a large two-day archdiocesan conference where we had a display table with Madonna House literature. We sold some books and gave away "word scrolls," brightly coloured little scrolls of paper, each with a "word" from Catherine Doherty. These were popular and great conversation starters.
In March we had the pleasure of having Fr. Al MacPherson, a priest-friend of MH Combermere, come to give a four-day Lenten mission to our parish. (Our pastor invited him after meeting him at our house last year.) Fr. Al gives charismatic healing missions all over the world.
We had been wondering how people would receive the healing service, since the parish doesn’t have a Charismatic style, but it was well received both by our parishioners and by people from other parishes. We could see the numbers increasing by the day.
We were greeters for his mission, so we chatted with many new and old friends and sold some MH books as well.
Some people want to invite Fr. Al back some time in the future; one friend of ours even asked us how come we hadn’t told them about him before!
As usual, our schedule has included mornings of recollection once a month for whoever wishes to come, on the themes of the Little Mandate. At the last one, we invited a special guest—Frater Leo Barker OSB of Westminster Abbey in Mission, BC, to talk about "Pray always, I will be your rest."
He shared about the life of prayer and work of the monks and gave some practical examples of how to pray. Then, after the tea break, he led us in Lectio Divina using the gospel reading for the Sunday Mass.
During lunch, he talked about his vocation and his life in the monastery. It was good to see a charming young man who loves his life which is dedicated to God, and he was loved by all present.
For our last meeting of the year with the Holy Family Apostolate (for people being formed in preparation for lay missionary work in the Yukon), we invited Fr. Elton Fernandes, SJ to give a talk on discernment.
We opened the meeting to friends as well, so we had over 40 people (mostly young families including the kids).
We had a few opportunities to give talks on vocation this year—at a grade school, high school, and young adults group. It was hard to engage the high school students and hard to know if they were listening or not, but we tried and hopefully they got something from it.
In June, I went back to Combermere for my Final Promises and came back with my mom to Vancouver. (She had come all the way from Korea for my Promises.) Gudrun Schultz, who entered the community just last year, renewed her promises in our chapel at MH Vancouver.
At the beginning of the summer, we went to Edmonton for the retreat for the three western houses of MH (Edmonton, Regina, and Vancouver).
Since none of the three of us at MH Vancouver had ever seen the Rockies before, we took time on the way back to explore a bit. We experienced wind, hail, rain, and sunshine, and saw some wild animals.
Summer was very quiet. Our local director, Mary Lynn Murray, was away helping out in Combermere, and between this and the fact that summer is always quiet, sometimes our house felt like a contemplative monastery. I called it "a hibernating time."
The summer weather was unusually beautiful and sunny, so Gudrun and I very much enjoyed working in our vegetable and flower gardens, eating three meals a day on our back porch, and going on a few hikes.
It was also a good time to get some projects done. Gudrun cleared the back yard to prepare for garden beds, reorganized the file cabinets, and, after being disturbed by mosquitoes, made two screens for the windows. I extended the flower garden and made new boxes for our office.
This year for the first time we got lots of apples from our three apple trees. Our happy dilemma then was what to do with them all.
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