Posted March 13, 2015 in MH Toronto ON, and in Memorials:
Everyone Loved Fr. Duffy

by Trudi Cortens, director of MH Toronto.

Trudi and Fr. Duffy worked and lived in community both in Carriacou, West Indies, (1970-1980), and in Toronto (1994-2014)—she as director and he as chaplain.

Fr. Duffy was a friend of mine for over forty years. Here are just a few stories and memories.

In our early days in Toronto when we were desperately looking for a house, Fr. Duffy planted medals of Our Lady around the one we wanted. The sale went through.

A friend of ours in the West Indies tells the next three stories: While on a visit to Trinidad, Fr. Duffy was to celebrate a Mass at her house. Our friend expected about twenty people, and she prepared food for them, as is the custom there after a home Mass. She made pizza.

But when word got around that Fr. Duffy would be saying Mass there, 40 or 50 showed up—way beyond what she had prepared for.

When it came time to eat, she cut up the pizza and started to serve it out. It kept going out and going out and going out; she never ran out. In fact there was some left over.

This same woman saw a healing of her husband’s cancer after Fr. Duffy prayed over him.

And that isn’t all. This woman’s mother had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and the doctors could do no more. A month after the diagnosis, Fr. Duffy prayed for her healing and on her follow-up visit to the doctor, the results of all her tests were negative. She went on to live another twenty years.

About fifteen years ago, Fr. Duffy visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock in Ireland with his family, and there he came into contact with some "Travelers," otherwise known as Gypsies.

They asked Father if they could write to him when he went back to Canada. They did and he received letters from them ever since—hundreds of them, from at least 200 people. They never asked for money; all they asked for was prayers and a chance to tell their problems. It’s really quite beautiful.

Father was first and foremost a priest; he was constantly aware of his priesthood and its power.

Father lived to celebrate Mass, and he was very aware of the power of a priest’s blessing. When he walked up and down the streets in Toronto, he would bless the cars, houses, and people he passed.

Father was a loyal and loving son of Mary, who lived in her heart. He was a person of prayer and faith. He was humble and would meet you wherever you were at.

Father was a gentleman and a fun person, and he loved to sing.

Father was attentive and particularly loving to the poor. He loved little children and families. He made everyone feel important and loved by God. He never compromised the truth, because he loved people too much to ever water it down.

Father was a father to many, especially young people.

He was generous with his time and gentle with his admonitions. When he spoke about the Holy Spirit, he radiated. He had an aversion to negative attitudes—and he constantly reminded us at MH Toronto of this.

Father prayed over young married couples to become pregnant—and they did.

He required anyone asking him to be their spiritual director to make the Act of Consecration to the Mother of God.

Father told me that the happiest years of his life were the ones he spent in the West Indies. He was loved by everybody there, and he so appreciated them and their beautiful spirit of childlikeness.

One Madonna House priest said of him that he was without guile; another that he had an obedient soul.

The West Indian regional superior of a religious community was very impressed with that obedience when she found out that Fr. Duffy was asked by his director general not to even mention the Charismatic Renewal for a year after coming to the West Indies.

She told her Sisters, "Anybody that can be that obedient, I trust with your souls."

The day after Fr. Duffy died, while we were having a little Christmas party, a man came in with a big bouquet of flowers and then disappeared.

It turned out it was the man who runs the convenience store on the corner, and he had just heard that Fr. Duffy had died. He came to thank us and to bring flowers and to tell us that Fr. Duffy had "fathered" him and his wife.

On hearing that Fr. Duffy was dying, one of his directees wrote the following:

"Fr. Duffy is forever in my heart. I remember his greeting, ‘dear heart,’ to the many he had contact with, including myself.

"He had that very special way of making a person know that God loved him as did he.

"But what impressed me the most is the number of young people who claim him as their father and who say they were healed of their father wounds through him."

Fr. Duffy loved and prayed with and reached out to so many people in so many big and little ways.

Beginning with the time when we knew he was dying, he and our house have received an incredible outpouring of emails, phone calls, and so forth from people telling of what he has given them. I don’t think there are too many people who are more loved than Fr. Duffy.


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