A Friend of MH Washington

by Kathleen Pereira

Since Madonna House Washington is located right next to my parish church, St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill, I would see the Madonna House members at daily and Sunday Mass. That’s how I got to know them.

I have been a friend of Madonna House Washington DC since 2004, and I am so grateful for that house. There I was introduced to Madonna House spirituality and there I learned about Catherine Doherty, their founder. That house has played a significant role in helping me develop a closer relationship with God.

Over the years, my relationship with the house and the members grew and deepened. I attended many events there and learned about the Little Mandate and the duty of the moment.

I loved the Christmas and Easter open houses where I would meet other friends of the house. I looked forward to the Epiphany party every year to get my gift from the Three Kings. I also looked forward to the Pentecost party where I received a gift and fruit of the Holy Spirit that would be developed further in my life as the year went on.

The St. Nicholas Day party on December 6th is another favorite of mine because along with the delicious gingerbread cookies made in the shape of a bishop, we each put our name into a container and then we drew a name out of that container.

That was your person to pray for that year. It was wonderful to know you would be the beneficiary of prayers for your intentions for the entire year by the person who picked your name and in return you would be giving that same gift to the person whose name you picked to pray for.

All the members who have served at Madonna House Washington have, by their example of faith and trust in God, in their living out the Gospel, and in their faithfulness to living out their Madonna House vocation, inspired me to deepen my trust in God.

I am grateful for my many friendships with them and also with the friends of Madonna House Washington whom I met at the various events throughout the years.

One of the MH members, Fr. Denis Lemieux, became my spiritual director. I got to know Fr. Denis when he was living at Madonna House Washington and studying at the Dominican House of Studies. When he returned to Combermere after finishing his studies, we stayed connected by email.

Then after I had listened to the entire CD series on the Fundamentals of the Spiritual Life—talks that Fr. Denis had given in Combermere—God said to me, “I want you to email Fr. Denis and ask him to be your spiritual director.”

I did so and he agreed. I am grateful for his wise spiritual direction in helping me to discern and live out God’s will for my life.

My faith has also been enriched by attending programs at Madonna House Washington where the members explained the Little Mandate, giving explanations of each of its lines and the influence of that line on the day-to-day life in Madonna House.

Another Madonna House practice that I have been working to incorporate more in my daily life is the duty of the moment.

When I find myself overwhelmed by personal and world events, the practice of focusing on the duty of the moment helps center me. There I can focus on God’s will for me in just this present moment and ask him for the grace to do it.

My practice of the duty of the moment has helped me to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the numerous mass shootings that have occurred this year in the United States.