Posted August 07, 2015 in MH Whitehorse YT:
Yukon Memories

by Mamie Legris.

Here is a small glimpse of Mamie’s life in our first mission house, Maryhouse in the Yukon. Though Mamie was later in several other houses, the Yukon always held a special place in her heart. You could always get her talking if you asked her about the Yukon.

Maryhouse has reached another milestone. On June 13, 1959, it celebrated the fifth anniversary of its founding. As that anniversary day approaches, my feelings are a mixture of joy and sorrow.

Joy to see a small, little apostolate in an almost unknown frontier town grow and expand; sorrow because Kathleen O’Herin and Louis Stoeckle, who pioneered with me, are not present to celebrate this joyful day.

These have been precious years whose memories I shall always treasure.

The people of Whitehorse, and I might say the whole Yukon, have always been wonderful to us. But I am sure that at first they must have wondered what kind of people we were.

I remember a very prosperous-looking gentleman with a Gladstone bag coming to our door one evening and asking for a night’s lodging.

I stared at him for a while and then stuttered: "You know we have a hotel in this town, and I doubt if you would like our accommodations. You see, we only take people who have no money."

He looked at me, smiled, and said: "Well, this is an unusual place indeed; I never heard of people being welcomed because they had no money. Fr. Tanguay, our missionary, told me about Maryhouse and I would like very much to stay here and meet the staff." As he said goodbye next day, he slipped a twenty dollar bill into my hand.

He and his wife still visit us, and each time there is the twenty-dollar bill, "just to help a little with your work."

Maryhouse has become a place of security for many. Last Saturday while we were having our monthly day of recollection, a taxi driver, holding up a shaking woman, came into the chapel.

The woman, he said, had taken a heart-attack while visiting a friend and had phoned him to bring her to Maryhouse.

He helped me to take her to our women’s hostel and departed. The woman continued to shake violently. I told her she should have gone to a hospital, which was closer than Maryhouse and the nurses and doctor there could have helped her.

"But", she said, "I feel safe here."

When I finally contacted the doctor, he told me she was an alcoholic, and had the "shakes", not a heart attack. Helen spent the night here and then returned to her friend’s place in the morning.

Maryhouse has become a place where people unload their troubles. Last night a good lady who has enough troubles to kill three women, spent a couple of hours unburdening herself, had some tea and cake, and when she left said: "The pain in my arms has gone and my back isn’t sore any more."

Maryhouse has become a place where not only ordinary transients are lodged and fed, but where the mother of a hungry family can get a box of food to take home to her children.

There’s one shy little woman who comes often. Sometimes it is for clothing; sometimes for food.

When I see her with her head bent down and her fingers in her mouth, I know she wants food.

Maryhouse is a place where you can get all sorts of things.

Yesterday, a poor friend of ours phoned us. Her husband had gone to the woods in an un-roadworthy old truck to get a load of wood. He had been away a week and she was worried about him.

Besides, she and the children had no food or wood. She had been burning sawdust to keep warm.

In a few minutes, we were there with food and wood from Maryhouse.

Maryhouse is a place where the alcoholic is not refused. A few days ago a Mountie knocked on our door. He said: "I have a problem. I have an alcoholic in the car. He isn’t drunk, nor is he very sober. He has been evicted from the hotel but expects to get some money from his sister to fly to Vancouver tomorrow.

"He needs a place to stay tonight. Will you keep him?" He spent the night here and left two days later.

Maryhouse is a place where a good, Catholic library is growing bigger and bigger. As I write this, a friend is busy building another row of shelves so that we will have room for more good books.

Maryhouse wouldn’t be much of a place if there weren’t great love of Our Lady here. It wouldn’t be much of a place if we didn’t get others to love her a great deal, also. So, we come to a very important part of our work — the Legion of Mary.

Every Wednesday night, seated around a table in our library, are Father Gene Cullinane (an MH priest on staff at Maryhouse), Betty McNeill, Pete Ericson, and the seven Indian boys and girls who comprise the Junior Legion of Mary in the Yukon.

From this nucleus, we hope will spread an ardent love for Our Lady of the Yukon all over the territory.

As a new year dawns for Maryhouse, we beg you to pray that our small, daily chores be done with much love and that they be pleasing to Mary, whose house we live in.

Adapted from Restoration, June 1959


If you enjoy our articles, we ask you to please consider subscribing to the print edition of Restoration; it's only $10 a year, and will help us stay in print. Thanks, and God bless you!


Restoration Contents

Next article:
Memories of Mamie

Previous article:
Romeo Maione: A Modern Prophet



RSS 2.0RSS feed

Madonna House - A Training Centre for the Lay Apostolate