A Homesick Moment

by Jessica Pierlot, former MH working guest

What is Madonna House to me? The other day, while at a young adult adoration hour, I was surprised to see a fellow-guest from my seven-month visit there. She had joined NET* this past year, and it just so happened that she was with her team in Prince Edward Island, where I live, for a week.

I was instantly transported back to my time in Madonna House—in the dorm, at the main house, in the laundry, at the farm kitchen, in the wool room—all the places where I had lived and worked. It was a beautiful, overwhelming, sentimental, and homesick moment for both of us.

As we sat in the church basement, we talked about what Madonna House is for us.

Here is some of what I said it is for me: Standing still. Standing on the dock letting the winter winds chill me to the bone. Watching the leaves begin to grow and the buds slowly wake up into flowers. Being part of the woodwork in church, my forehead bowed to the soft, coolness of the floorboards.

Singing in the halls; then being told to let the silence of God into my heart and learning that I don’t need to sing every moment of the day.

Whispering a prayer on the way to work and hugging the cold, curved body of the statue of Our Lady of Combermere.

Learning to fold the towels, and to refold the towels, and to fold the towels yet again. Serving a table in a sea of people and bringing them more, more, and more beans.

Sleeping deeply, waking up groggy, but feeling alive. Without coffee. (Sounds crazy—I know!) Laughing over friendly poker games, playing piano for hours, and reading until I’m told to turn out the light.

Lying on my back on the skating rink with a million stars smiling back at me. Men who work hard and love in service and beautiful women teaching me that I am God’s daughter. Good conversation and a low-burning fire to cut the chill. Warmth and truth, together.

This is my Madonna House. This is our Madonna House. A little haven tucked in the foothills of Combermere. My spiritual home.

And while I miss my “people of the towel and water,” I am at peace knowing that in my heart burns the same fire of Christ as burns in theirs.

I don’t know when I will be able to go back to visit the beauty of Madonna House again, but until I do, I will carry it wherever I go.

Madonna House is a burning ember that I can pass on to others. I am called to give the gifts I have received there and to love, love, love, never counting the cost.

*NET (National Evangelization Team) is a Catholic peer-to-peer organization which puts into action the Church’s mission to evangelize and disciple young people.