Posted October 21, 2015 in MH Combermere ON:
Notes from Near and Far: St. Joseph’s House, Combermere

by Carol Ann Gieske.

What does St. Joseph’s House do? According to our mandate, our first responsibility is to "form a community of love" and "pray for the parish, the valley, and the diocese."

Then we are to "serve the poor and the needy by providing inexpensive clothing, other material goods, and neighborly help." We are also to "provide opportunities for friends to volunteer," "visit the poor (of every kind)," and "assist in the parish, and if possible, help the youth."

In the course of any given month, we easily fulfill all of these, but on one exceptionally eventful Monday, the six of us were stretched to do most of it in a single day.

As usual we began with morning prayer and breakfast. Then Sofia Segal took an elderly couple to Pembroke, a small city an hour and a half drive away, for medical appointments.

While there, the husband fell and broke his arm. Off to emergency they went. Between one thing and another, they didn’t get home until 1:00 a.m.

Meanwhile back at the house, Alma responded to an on-going situation of a friend needing help to pay for chiropractic treatments and essential medications.

(We, too, needed medicine at the time. One of our good friends brought us some herbal medicine and cold remedies to help us fight the cold that was going around.)

Volunteers are essential to our work, and that day three came. One lady helped me get the clothing room ready, and another assisted Loretta Fritz with sorting and setting up St. Ed’s, where we sell miscellaneous items at a very low price.

The third volunteer was a working guest from Madonna House. He helped Peter Lyrette bring donated clothing that had been sorted to our clothing room and then mowed our lawn for the rest of the day.

Michael Huffman from the MH farm stopped in to consult with Loretta (who was a veterinarian before she joined Madonna House) about a "bovine problem" (sick cow).

At 5:00 p. m., we celebrated the 80th birthday of Mary Yaraskavitch, a longtime friend and neighbor, with a Byzantine liturgy celebrated by Fr. Ron Cafeo and a delightful supper cooked by Trina Stitak.

Then in the evening, in order to learn more about Madonna House, The Barry’s Bay Food Bank Committee, of which Loretta is a member, had their meeting here and a tour of the house, shops, and gardens. (They especially enjoyed our baby chicks, which were just under two weeks old.)

And that was the end of our very full day.


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