Column: Memorials

This column contains articles about Madonna House staff workers who have passed away.

She Was a Missionary — by Kathy McVady. Maria Guadalupe Zabaco de Miguel was born near Burgos, Spain, on April 22, 1924, the seventh of eight children. She had a twin who died at birth. Lupe (pronounced "Lu pay") remembered a happy childhood, even... (May 10, 2016)

He Let You Be Yourself — Fr. Pat was sometimes outrageous. A week of Cana, our family vacation/retreat camp, was beginning. Fr. Pat McNulty and I were part of the host team, and everyone had gathered for the opening meeting. Fr. Pat said, “I hate Cana!... (March 09, 2016)

Saved from the Tomb — by Fr. David May. All humanity is in a tomb. Some know they’re dead; others seem not to. Some dream of another life, others don’t seem to dream that way. Some meet Jesus in the tomb; others do not. But... (March 04, 2016)

He Lived Life With Passion — by Fr Blair Bernard. One day fifteen years ago, I walked into Fr. Pat McNulty’s poustinia and into his life, and in doing so, I walked into the strangest friendship I’ve ever had.... (March 02, 2016)

The Amateur Who Longed for Perfection — by Fr. David May. I didn’t know Fr. Tom for the first sixty years of his life. I met him in 1986 when he was sixty years old, when I was sent to pick him up at Logan Airport in... (November 11, 2015)

He Was a Pastor — by Mary Catherine Rowland, Fr. Tom’s sister and fellow staff worker. When I am asked about my brother’s priesthood what comes immediately to mind is something that happened when our father was dying and Fr. Tom was a parish priest... (November 09, 2015)

An Ordinary Treasure — by Trudi Cortens. Like so many of us who ended up joining Madonna House, Josephine Halfman originally came only for a visit. She had a chemistry degree and, having left her native Fort Wayne, Indiana, was teaching in California. She... (October 19, 2015)

A Hidden Woman — by Fr. Denis Lemieux. When Fr. David May asked me to lead the wake service for Josephine Halfman, I said, of course, "Sure! Happy to do it." He’s my director, and I generally try to say yes to whatever he... (October 14, 2015)

Memories of Mamie — A few years ago, Mamie and her good friend, Marité Langlois, as a treat, went out to supper at a restaurant. When their driver went to pay the bill, the cashier told her it had already been paid. The people... (August 12, 2015)

What Kept Mamie Focussed? — by Fr. Pat McNulty. There is one question I would like to ask Mamie: What drove you? What kept you focussed all those years, especially these last ten years or so when you lived in total, complete spiritual darkness? And... (July 20, 2015)

Her Yes Was Yes — by Susanne Stubbs and Helen Hodson. Mary Bridget Theresa Legris (March 31, 1916 – March 27, 2015) was known to us only as Mamie. It is safe to say that she held a unique place of honor in our Madonna House... (July 10, 2015)

He Loved Madonna House — by Fr. David May. Most of the time, we don’t know the role of Madonna House in a person’s life. Take Archbishop Fournier, for example.... (April 15, 2015)

He Loved the Poor — by Jeanne Guillemette. When a man dies, his life is revealed. Call no one blessed before his death. For by how he ends, a man is known (Sirach 11: 27b-28). Several days after the death of Archbishop Pierre-André Fournier, I... (April 13, 2015)

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... (March 13, 2015)

A Letter to Fr. Duffy — by Fr. David May. Dear Father Jim, It’s been nearly a month now since you went home to the Lord, and I’ve been meaning to drop you a line for some time. But you know how it is at times:... (March 09, 2015)

My Uncle Jim — by Shatzi Duffy, staff worker & niece of Fr. Duffy. If somebody asked me to describe Uncle Jim in seven words or less, I would say, The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come" (Rev 22:17). Unlike the rest of... (March 06, 2015)

Joe’s Humble Love — by Bonnie Staib. I lived with Joe Walker both in Combermere and Edmonton and I learned a lot from him. Here are just three examples.... (October 11, 2013)

He Was a Humble Man — by Mark Schlingerman. Joseph Anthony Walker was 90 when he died. He thought he was going to be only 89 when his last birthday came up on May 17th, but we showed him that he was going to be... (October 04, 2013)

My Heart Is A Dancer — by Cathy Mitchell. Martha Shepherd and I were classmates in MH, and when we were applicants, she was a puzzle to me. She was different from anyone I’d ever met—a professional story teller and a dancer. Martha would walk on... (January 23, 2013)

Memories — by Jo-Anne Paquette. In the last five months of Martha Shepherd’s life, I was assigned to MH Ottawa to help take care of her. Here are a few moments, a few memories, from our life together at that time.... (January 16, 2013)

Following the Lamb — by Cheryl Ann Smith. My friend Martha Shepherd is dying. We’ve talked on the phone every week for the last few years, but the next call will probably be the one to tell me she has died. I live... (January 11, 2013)

Generous to a Fault — Helen and I shared a love of music and of musical comedies. Once when I was a young staff worker and having a very hard time, Helen told me to be in the yard at 1 p.m. She showed... (November 12, 2012)

The Song Helen Sang — by Fr. Pat McNulty. Helen Schreiner loved music, especially old songs. She had a number of favorites, some corny ("You are my sunshine, my only sunshine …"), some not. But it was her attraction to one song in particular... (November 09, 2012)

When Jesus Kisses You — By Mary Beth Mitchell. Helen Schreiner was my best friend, and we had lots of fun together. There are funny stories I could tell about her, but I want to tell this serious one, because it reveals something of... (November 05, 2012)

My Conversation with Paul — by Andorra Howard. Though Paul Holland was a man of few words, he had a light within him and an infectious joyful countenance. He was a mystery to me, and I felt drawn to him and wanted to communicate... (April 22, 2012)

A Faithful Servant — by the editor. Paul, the second of five children, grew up in Toronto. His father had a horse-drawn taxi business; his best customer was the bishop of the diocese. Then came the stock market crash of 1929, and the... (April 17, 2012)

A Man of Few Words — Memories — Paul Holland... (April 15, 2012)

The Encounter, the Choice — by Fr. Murray Kuemper. I was first approached about celebrating Paul Holland’s funeral Mass during the time when he was dying and we were keeping watch with him.... (April 10, 2012)

A Friend for 65 Years — by Réjeanne George. Fr. Paul Béchard died; we buried him yesterday. This morning, memories of him crowd my mind. I will miss him. But gratitude for him fills my heart, and I am happy for him that his passing... (November 18, 2011)

Memories of Fr. Paul — Fr. Paul, on one of his assignments to our house in England happened to be with us for the Triduum. So we decided we’d have the services in our chapel. At the Holy Thursday liturgy, when he got up... (November 14, 2011)

Right Place, Wrong Reason — by Paulette Curran. When I think of Fr. Paul, it is not his words that I mainly remember. There are, however, some that I remember well, some that influenced my own life with God and were, I think, an... (November 09, 2011)

He Lived in God’s Favourite Place — by Fr. David May. "You did it, Jesus! You did it!" About so many situations, so many struggles, so many difficulties solved, so many accomplishments, good works, and favors received, Fr. Paul would say, "You did it, Jesus," and... (November 07, 2011)

Memories of Marg — Two words that come to me about Marg are "kindness" and "service." I have no memory of her ever saying an unkind word to or about anyone.... (April 18, 2011)

A Letter to Joan — by Réjeanne George. Dear Joan, We had a memory night in your honor a couple of evenings ago. Did you hear how much we laughed as we remembered shared moments with you? In a spiritual family of unique individuals,... (April 15, 2011)

A Quiet, Gentle Presence — by Doreen Dykers. Marg served at Marian Centre Regina from June 2008 until August 2009. Doreen, who is still there, was on staff with her. Marg was never one to complain. Though she suffered greatly as a result of... (April 14, 2011)

I Called Her Marg-ie — by Sushi Horwitz. The guest was very quiet. She was in her thirties, thin, with deep seeing eyes. In those days, I was responsible for seeing that the washing of the dishes went smoothly after each meal.... (April 11, 2011)

He Offers More Than Sympathy — by Fr. David May. The following is excerpted from the homily at the funeral Mass of Joan and Marg. The readings were from Wis 3:1-9, 1 Cor 15: 51-57, and Lk 24: 13-35. At a time such as this,... (April 04, 2011)

So Much Is Hidden — by Fr. Tom Zoeller. On January 23, 2011, when Marg was driving Joan to the bus station to begin her holidays, both were killed in a car accident. Death is always a mystery, and when it is as sudden and... (April 01, 2011)

A Long Pilgrimage — by Fr. Pat McNulty. "Hell-o! Madonna House. This is Diane. Can I help you?" I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to how many of you over the years have heard that voice of Diane Kunz when you phoned Madonna House.... (February 01, 2011)

A Man For All Seasons — by Michael Fagan. It rejoiced my heart to hear that Ronnie was conscious and coming to meals and prayers up to the last day of his life.... (August 20, 2010)

He Lived for Others — by Charlie Cavanaugh. As I looked upon Ronnie in his coffin during his wake, my heart was filled with gratitude and encouragement. This brother of mine, whom I had known for more than thirty years, had lived a beautiful, faith-filled... (July 23, 2010)

He Just Did It — by Fr. David May. Unless a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest (Jn 12:24). But before the seed falls to the ground... (July 19, 2010)

Memories of a City Girl — by Diane Lefebvre. Ronnie MacDonell has been my Madonna House brother ever since I came in 1963, and I got to know him well when I was the cook at St Benedict’s farm. I was a timid city girl and... (July 07, 2010)

Out of Rich Soil — by Paulette Curran. Though many in Madonna House come from unlikely backgrounds, there are others whose life with God grew naturally in the rich soil of a family and culture steeped in the Gospel. Such a one was Ronnie MacDonell.... (July 02, 2010)

Both Father and Son — by Fr. David May. This is adapted from the funeral homily for Albert Osterberger. The Scripture readings are Mt 5:1-12; Rom 8:14-23; Ps 22. When I was a young staff worker living at the farm, Albert, who was farm manager... (October 16, 2009)

Was He Just Stubborn? — by Steve Héroux. My first impression of Albert Osterberger when I came to Madonna House in 1989 was of a simple, boisterous man, somewhat irritating, with a loud, generous laugh, someone quite at home there. Nothing gave me a clue... (October 12, 2009)

A Life He Didn’t Expect — by Fr. Bob Pelton. When Albert Osterberger was in the American military, he went on a retreat at a Trappist monastery not far from where he was stationed. That retreat stirred up in him a great desire to find his... (October 08, 2009)

A Lifetime of Service — by Paulette Curran. One of Thérèse’s early memories of Madonna House is of Catherine Doherty waking her in the middle of the night to go and assist her in delivering a baby in the local area. Thérèse was a practical... (July 20, 2007)

How Do You Fold the Towels? — After I had been a guest at MH in 1969, I left and traveled in Europe. I was in Paris, near the Eiffel Tower, when someone came up to me and said, "You were at Madonna House!" "Yes," I said,... (November 27, 2006)

The Graces that Do Not Shine — by Fr. Bob Pelton. One day at spiritual reading Mary P. shared with us what was probably the turning point in her life. It had happened before she came to Madonna House. She was in the hospital because of some... (November 23, 2006)

She Chose to Love Me — by Maria Seraphim. Last spring, when I came to Madonna House to visit Mary P., I was having tea at St. Mary’s and talking about her. "Did you take care of her?" someone asked me. "No," I replied, "She took... (November 22, 2006)

Riveted on Jesus — by Cheryl Ann Smith. Prayer changes things. This was the inscription Mary Pennefather asked to have put on the cross that would mark her grave. This was the story of her life. Though Mary’s early years were filled with anguish,... (November 17, 2006)

Archbishop Joseph M. Raya has died at 88 — Archbishop Joseph Raya, the first “Associate Priest” of the Madonna House Apostolate, died peacefully on Friday, June 10, 2005 at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, Canada after a long illness. May the memory of Archbishop Joseph Raya... (June 13, 2005)

An Off-Key Joy — Various Madonna House staff share thoughts and memories of Tom Egan.... (June 10, 2005)

Will You Offer This? — by Cheryl Ann Smith. The day I became an applicant of Madonna House, though it was Catherine Doherty who officially accepted and warmly received me, it was Tom Egan whom I experienced bringing me into the heart of the family.... (June 06, 2005)

How I Shall Love! — by Tom Egan. This following letter by Tom Egan to his brothers and sisters in Madonna House was found in his file with instructions that it be read after his death. It was written 27 years ago, on April 9,... (May 27, 2005)

A Gruff Old Man — by a staff worker. Thomas Egan, a staff worker of Madonna House since 1961, passed away on March 3, 2005. In this issue of Restoration, we share some of our memories of Tom. Tom Egan was a gruff old guy... (May 20, 2005)

The loss of our beloved Holy Father — by Fr. David May. At this time when we are all surely feeling the loss of our beloved Holy Father, even as we do rejoice in his going home to the Father, I want to pass on a word that... (April 04, 2005)

She Wasn’t There — by Helen Porthouse. Last year, Jean Fox, the director general of women, had a stroke on Palm Sunday morning and died on Tuesday of Holy Week. One of the staff shares her memories of that most memorable Holy Week.... (March 20, 2005)

Our Lady’s Escort — by Paulette Curran. On November 20, 2004, Fr. Patrick Moore, an associate priest of Madonna House, died at the age of 93. Fr. Pat had a most unusual vocation within the vocation of his priesthood. For 34 years he traveled... (February 01, 2005)


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