Posted December 10, 2015:
A New Cana Colony

by Deacon Ed Blaine, associate of Madonna House.

Did you know that there is a Cana Colony much like the Cana Colony in Combermere in northern New York State? With the blessing and encouragement of Madonna House, my wife and I started one.

Rose and I and our children are a longtime Cana family. We first went there in August 1979, when we had two children, Jacob, who was almost three, and Judy who was just over ten months. We found it so good that we returned in ’81 and ’83.

We would have come the years in between as well, but, in order to allow more families to have the experience, Madonna House doesn’t allow anyone to come two years in a row.

In 1984, we became a host family, and altogether, we went to Cana Colony for twenty years. During that time, God gave us five more children—David, Andy, Mary, Leo, and Dan. During that time, too, I was ordained a deacon (in 1987) and became an associate deacon of Madonna House (in 1989).

Then one day, Fr. Bob Wild, a Madonna House priest and my spiritual director, suggested we think about starting a Cana Colony-like apostolate ourselves. And so we did.

In 2002, ten families came together for the first Cana Family Retreat Vacation the first week of August at the Watson Homestead near Corning, New York. We have continued having one Cana week a year every year after that.

A priest friend, Fr. Jim Fallon, was on hand for the sacraments and continued to help for the first few years. After that, Fr. Ron Cafeo came down from Madonna House to do the same.

We have had other help as well. Maureen and Joe D’Agostino, another former host couple from Cana Colony in Combermere, came the first year and have continued to co-host with us. Our daughter Mary babysits the children during the conferences and does crafts with them.

This Cana Colony is not quite as rustic as the one in Combermere. We have indoor plumbing in the cabins and meals are provided. On the other hand, although the countryside here is beautiful, we do not have Bennett Lake.

We try to follow the model of Cana Colony, bringing Madonna House spirituality to North American families.

The schedule is pretty much the same as in Combermere: Mass at 10:00 in the morning, the afternoon conference for the parents at 3:00, and the rest of the day is free for families to be families and interact with other Catholic families.

They can swim, hike, and play indoor and outdoor games, and there are some planned activities such as a hay ride, time on a climbing wall, and of course, the evening camp fire.

Besides families with children, we welcome empty nesters to join us to explore a new phase of their spiritual growth and to share their experience and wisdom with younger families.

This coming summer of 2016, our dates will be from July 24th through the 30th.

For more information, visit:


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