About Us

For an overview of our community, please click on the headers below.

Who We Are

Who We Are

The Madonna House Apostolate is a family of Christian laymen, women, and priests, striving to incarnate the teachings of Jesus Christ by forming a community of love.

We are a  Public Association of the Faithful within the Roman Catholic Church, under the bishop of the Diocese of Pembroke.

Staff members of Madonna House come from all walks of life, from various countries and cultures, and have a wide variety of personalities and talents. They have in common a desire to serve God in a very humble way of life, as summarized in our Little Mandate. Our spirit is that of a family — modeled on the holy family of Nazareth, which was a community of perfect charity and love.

Our main house, or Training Centre, is located in Combermere, Ontario, Canada. Madonna House also serves many areas throughout the world through our mission houses; we serve families through a summer program called Cana Colony, and we serve the general public through our newspaper, our publications, and our volunteer programs.

Founded in 1947 by Catherine Doherty, today the community has approximately 200 laymen, women, and priests, dedicated to loving and serving Christ through promises of poverty, chastity, and obedience. (And, in addition to our staff priests, there are approximately 100 associate priests, bishops and permanent deacons who strive to live the spirit of Madonna House in their home dioceses or wherever they are serving.)

Someone once asked Catherine, “What is Madonna House?” She answered:

What is Madonna House? Madonna House is a very simple thing. It is an open door. It is a cup of tea or coffee, good and hot. It is an invitation to work for the common good.

Madonna House is a house of hospitality. It is a place where people are received, not on their education, not on how wonderful they are as painters, or whatever they have to do; they are received simply as people. They are loved.

Our Promises

Madonna House staff are pilgrims in this world, proclaiming the second coming of Christ, when all things will be restored in him. In accordance with the evangelical counsels, we make promises of poverty, chastity, and obedience:

  • We live a life of voluntary poverty, giving up our personal possessions. Like St. Francis of Assisi, we depend on begging to provide for our needs. Donations of clothing, food, goods, and money come from a variety of sources, and enable us to live out our promise of poverty for the sake of the Gospel of Christ.
  • We live a chaste life, dedicated only to the love of Christ and a celibate love for one another.
  • We also live in obedience to our directors, living and working in the place to which we are assigned. There is a director general of laymen, a director general of women, and a director general of priests, who are elected for five-year terms. Together, these three guide the community of Madonna House. Each mission house also has a local director, appointed by the directors general.

The laymen and women of Madonna House wear ordinary street clothes. Their only distinguishing mark is a simple silver cross worn around their necks, with the inscription PAX-CARITAS, Latin for “peace” and “love.”

A Brief History

A Brief History

In 1922 Pope Pius XI issued a call to “Catholic Action,” calling on all the laity to participate in a new and renewed movement to carry and apply the Gospel message to all aspects of human life.

Catherine Doherty had been raised by her deeply Christian Russian parents to a strong sense of responsibility toward the poor and less fortunate, and was painfully aware of the injustice of the economic and social conditions oppressing many of them. She was also filled with a burning love of God and, during the late 1920s, an unceasing questioning as to how best to serve him. She became one of the pioneers who responded to the Pope’s call.

Friendship House

Beginning in 1934, and working through the depths of the Great Depression, Catherine founded Friendship House in Toronto, Canada, where she and a group of fellow laypeople strove to provide clothing, food, and shelter to the unemployed and homeless; a library, reading room and social activities for those deprived of them; help in finding employment; and assistance to immigrants in need.

Later on, in 1938, Catherine continued her apostolate in New York City, founding Friendship House Harlem, which provided many of the same services as in Toronto, but with a particular emphasis on combating the evils of racial discrimination and promoting racial justice for all. Friendship Houses were later established in Chicago, Washington D.C., and other cities in the U.S.

During all the years of Friendship House and later, of Madonna House, it was not only Catherine’s actions which spoke to the people of Canada and the U.S. — her voice and her pen spoke out as well. In lectures and talks up and down the North American continent, and in a ceaselessly flowing river of articles, letters, and books, she penetrated the hearts, the minds, and the lives of Christians with her unwavering call to live the Gospel. A whole generation of priests, sisters, and laypeople was nourished and sustained by her teaching.

Madonna House

Catherine moved to Combermere, Ontario, Canada, in 1947. There, building on the foundations laid in Friendship House, she founded a new apostolate, Madonna House. Madonna House began like Friendship House had, as a group of laypeople including her husband Eddie Doherty. With the arrival of Fr. John Callahan and a number of other priests in the early 1950s, the membership grew to include priests as well. At the suggestion of Pope Pius XII, beginning in 1954 members have been making a commitment to dedicate themselves to Madonna House for life, as celibate men and women. The total membership now numbers approximately 200 — laymen, women, and priests.

The original field of activity of Madonna House was a rural apostolate to the local people in Combermere and the surrounding areas. Within a few years the number of guests arriving from various countries to live and work with Catherine made it necessary to establish this “Rural Apostolate” as a separate entity; it became one of our mission houses and is known as St. Joseph’s House.

Madonna House itself developed as a Training Centre for lay apostles. Over the years many thousands of guests — young and not so young, lay and cleric, men and women of many cultures, Catholic and not Catholic — have been inspired, set on fire, born anew and renewed in spirit through the hospitality and formation received at Madonna House, and have taken their experience home to the marketplaces in their own milieus.

Among the hundreds of guests each year, a few receive a vocational call from God and his Mother to dedicate their lives to him through Madonna House, and pour out their lives in the apostolic works of the MH community. They make promises to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience according to the spirit and mandate of Madonna House. The scope of the Apostolate now extends from our training center in Combermere to eighteen mission houses in various countries.

Madonna House is constituted as a Public Association of the Christian Faithful (Cf. Code of Canon Law, 298–320) within the Roman Catholic Church, under the authority of the bishop of the Diocese of Pembroke. Since 1958, the Madonna House family has included associate clergy: priests, bishops, and deacons serving in their own parishes, dioceses, and ministries — living and proclaiming the Madonna House spirituality in multiple countries and innumerable ways.

Our Foundress: Catherine Doherty

Catherine Doherty

A Woman In Love With God

Catherine de Hueck Doherty, a woman in love with God, experienced enough adventure, heartbreak, and joy to fill several lifetimes. Born in Russia, her faith was nurtured in a deeply Christian home, where each person, rich or poor, was received as Christ. She brought the treasures of her Russian heritage and her vibrant faith to a Western culture hungering for truth and meaning. Catherine lived and worked tirelessly among the urban poor, often in the face of misunderstanding and persecution. She became a pioneer and leader in the Lay Apostolate in 20th century North America.

She had experienced the privileged life of aristocratic wealth followed by the poverty and losses of being a refugee; the horrors of war while nursing Russian soldiers in the trenches, capture and condemnation to death by starvation. Hovering between life and death, Catherine promised God, “If you save me from this, in some way I will offer my life to you.” Rescued, she went on to experience the pain of a broken marriage and the struggles of single parenthood.

Through it all, her faith in God and love for him grew and led her to work with the poor in small, humble ways, forsaking material comforts to live with them. Her work in social justice in both Canada and the U.S. led to the establishment of Friendship Houses, and later, the community of Madonna House, whose members — laymen and women and priests — make a lifetime commitment. Since Catherine’s death in 1985, her apostolic family has grown to number approximately 200 members, who staff our Training Centre in Combermere, Ontario and eighteen mission houses in various countries.

Russian Beginnings

Catherine Kolyschkine was born in 1896 in pre-Revolutionary Russia to deeply Christian Orthodox parents in an era in which faith was strong and vital, and Russian culture was saturated with the Gospel of Christ — in home life, work and religious practice. Catherine was baptized, received her early religious formation, and married in the Russian Orthodox Church. In her youth she had absorbed an extraordinary integration of faith and life, a passion to incarnate the Gospel into life and culture. Catherine brought to the West this Orthodox spirituality.

She also had an early and intense exposure to Roman Catholicism. At the age of six she moved with her family to Alexandria, Egypt, where her father had been posted, and for several years she attended a Roman Catholic school there, conducted by the Sisters of Sion. This profoundly influenced her formative years and eventually led, in 1919 in England, to her request to be formally received into the Roman Catholic Church. Over her lifetime, Catherine integrated both of these great Christian traditions — Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism — within her own person. She not only longed for their unity of heart and mind, but on a grassroots level she spared no effort to bring about a deeper understanding and love, and an appreciation of the particular gifts of both faith traditions.

Catherine’s parents also communicated to her an extraordinary love for the poor, based on the Gospel words of Christ: “What you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me.” As a child, Catherine often accompanied her mother as she visited the poor, nursing and helping them in whatever ways she could. And she often saw her father get up from the table (even when they were entertaining diplomats) and wait on beggars who came to the door, as if waiting on Christ himself. Her parents’ example burned into Catherine’s soul the Gospel truth: What is done to others is done to Christ. In Catherine’s dynamic Russian faith, love was not abstract: Love was giving clothes, or a cup of coffee, or a listening ear.

Marriage and War

Catherine was married at age fifteen to her first cousin, the wealthy aristocrat Boris de Hueck. During the First World War while her new husband was an officer with the engineering corps, Catherine volunteered as a nurse to the Czar’s troops on the German front and was decorated for bravery under fire. She and Boris eventually escaped Communist Russia, and in 1921 received asylum in Canada, where their son George was born.

Catherine worked at what menial jobs she could find, to support her infant son and her husband, who was in frail health. She labored as laundress, maid, and waitress, working first in Canada, then relocating alone to New York City in order to find work. After a time of working menial jobs amid great poverty, she landed a well-paying position as a lecturer (criss crossing North America to give lectures on her experience in Russia) and then working out of New York City as an executive with a literary agency there.

Meanwhile her marital relationship with Boris deteriorated further as a result of his abusive treatment of her and his adultery. Aware that no reconciliation and family life was possible, Catherine and Boris separated and were later divorced; their marriage was eventually annulled by the Catholic Church.

Voluntary Poverty and Social Justice

By the late 1920s Catherine had shed her rags for riches again, but in the midst of a social event one night she heard Christ gently laugh and say, “Catherine, do you think you can escape from me that way?” Thus began a period of voluntary poverty — and of receiving words from Christ; Gospel words that spelled a way of life. She was hounded by Christ’s words to the rich young man in the Gospel: “Sell all you possess, give it to the poor, and come — follow me!” Eventually she did exactly that, giving away her possessions to the poor, keeping only enough to provide for her son. Then, with the blessing of her bishop, Most Rev. Neil McNeil of Toronto, she went to live and work with the poor in the slums of Toronto, where she founded her first Friendship House, followed later by others in New York City’s Harlem section, in Chicago, and other cities in the 1930s and 1940s.

Catherine was guided in her work with the poor by a series of these words that she believed came from Christ. His simple directives came to her at odd moments over a number of years, and eventually they were gathered together and became what is known as The Little Mandate. Catherine passed this on to the Madonna House community and it continues to guide our lives.

Through the years, Catherine became well-known for her social justice work with the poor and minorities. She was a forerunner in the Civil Rights movement in the U.S. and was a friend of Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. For her words and her work, she received accolades, honorary degrees, and awards — as well as persecution, threats, and calumny. But always, her words, like her actions, were strong, clear, and uncompromising, solidly based on the Gospel of Christ.

Meanwhile, Catherine’s son George finished boarding school and went off to war in Europe; he later married and became a successful businessman in the U.S. As Catherine continued her work with the poor, she met Edward J. Doherty, a famous Chicago newspaper reporter who interviewed her in Harlem in 1940. They were married in 1943.

Founding Madonna House

In 1947 Catherine and Eddie moved to the tiny village of Combermere, Ontario, amid the woods of Canada, to engage in rural mission work. Although life there was rigorous and hardly comfortable, once again people found their way to Catherine and were welcomed warmly. They prayed, ate meals, sang and worked together, all the while learning from Catherine how God can permeate even the smallest task when it is done out of love for him. She showed a simple, clear way to connect the Gospel with everyday, ordinary life. The genius of Catherine’s spirituality, then and now, is that it can be applied to anyone’s life situation, whether they be an executive, a waitress, or a student. “Do little things well for the love of God,” she told people. “Every task, routine or not, is of redeeming, supernatural value because we are united to Christ. We must be recollected and stay aware of this truth.” It is through such seemingly mundane tasks, performed with the motivation of love for God, that the world could be restored to Christ, she maintained. Madonna House began to live out this Gospel way of life as a community. The apostolate grew and, at the request of various bishops, Catherine opened mission houses in their dioceses around the world. Thus, the humble, hidden life based on the Holy Family of Nazareth spread.

A Prolific Writer

Today Catherine’s vision of living the Gospel flows out to those who visit Madonna House or its mission houses, and to those who read Catherine’s many books. Catherine wrote thousands of periodical articles and 45 books, including Poustinia, which has become a modern spiritual classic and has been translated into 16 languages. More of her writing is yet to be published from her voluminous correspondence with hundreds of people, her personal diaries, and transcripts of her lectures and talks. Her books range from practical down-to-earth advice, to mystical spiritual poetry; from cogent explanations of the Christian faith and forceful admonitions to live the Gospel without compromise to tales about her idyllic childhood in old Russia. Further reading and viewing is available through Madonna House Publications:

Madonna House Pioneers

Madonna House Pioneers

Eddie Doherty

Eddie Doherty (1890-1975), a famed Irish American newspaper reporter and best-selling author, met Catherine de Hueck while on assignment in Harlem in 1940, where she was directing one of the Friendship Houses she had founded. They were married in Chicago in 1943.

In 1947 they moved to the village of Combermere, Ontario in Canada, where Catherine, assisted by Eddie, provided neighborly services to the people in that rural area, and began publishing their monthly newspaper, Restoration. Catherine’s Gospel way of life served as a magnet and soon she and Eddie were welcoming into their home people from afar who had journeyed to Combermere to learn from Catherine and to help in the work. Within five years of Eddie and Catherine’s arrival, the first three of these volunteers made a commitment to the Way of Life Catherine was teaching, and became the first members of Madonna House, as the new community came to be known.

Eddie deeply loved his wife and had a strong if hidden support of what God was doing through her. He and Catherine made the heroic decision to live as brother and sister, in order to support the new members in their commitment to live a life of celibate love. Eddie continued to write, only now, as a Catholic writer it became an aspect of the apostolate; he authored 20 spiritual books and numerous articles for spiritual periodicals.

Eddie had entered a monastery at 13 but left it within three years. He married his first wife, Marie Ryan, but their life together was a brief four years during which their son Eddie, Jr. was born. Marie died in the 1918 flu epidemic. Her death was a bitter loss to Eddie and he turned against the Church and against God. Soon he married Mildred Frisby, also a reporter; they had one son, Jack Jim. Mildred died in a tragic accident in 1939. The following year he met Catherine. In 1958 a Lebanese Byzantine priest, Fr. Joseph Raya, visited Madonna House and became its first associate cleric. He was a pastor in Birmingham, Alabama, and invited Eddie to visit him there. From then on Eddie spent one month each year with Fr. Raya until “Father Joe” was consecrated the Archbishop of Galilee in the Holy Land in 1968.

The following year, at the age of 79, Eddie traveled to Israel where, in the village of Nazareth, Archbishop Raya ordained him a priest of the Byzantine Rite Melkite Greek Catholic Church, thus fulfilling Eddie’s dream of being a priest. He returned to Combermere where he spent the remaining six years of his life.

Fr. John Callahan

“Father Cal,” as he was affectionately known, was the first priest to join Madonna House. In him, Catherine Doherty found a committed spiritual director, and the early Madonna House priests found their first director general. Born in Rochester, NY in 1913 to a first generation Irish American family, Fr. Cal was ordained during the eve of World War II, on June 3, 1939 for the diocese of Rochester, where he was considered a zealous priest and a leader.

In 1950 he came to Combermere to give a week of talks at Madonna House about the Mother of God. Later he gave a recap of his message: “I wish to make a rather intense personal witness to Mary. For me, to live is Mary. I can’t remember when I first had a devotion to her; it has always been there. As a young man I read as much as I could about Our Lady. I can remember summer vacations, working on a playground; I would steal away for fifteen to twenty minutes to quietly read her Office. I can’t begin to enumerate the things that happened to me because of her and through her: her protection, care, consideration, her leading me to Christ.”

He also talked about his consecration to Jesus through Mary, according to St. Louis de Montfort. Within five weeks of his visit, Catherine and Eddie Doherty travelled to Ottawa on February 2, 1951 and at the feet of the statue of Notre-Dame-du-Cap in the French church of Sacré-Coeur, consecrated themselves totally to Jesus through Mary according to the teachings of St. Louis de Montfort. In later years Fr. Callahan and Catherine noticed how dramatically profound graces had fallen upon her and Eddie, and in turn, upon the whole apostolate, following their Consecration. In the ensuing years nearly all staff members consecrated themselves to Jesus through the Mother of God via the Montfort consecration.

Fr. Callahan took on the challenging task of directing Catherine Doherty, although he and Catherine were humanly extremely different, with divergent backgrounds and experiences. Catherine was a passionate Russian woman, a complex personality endowed with extraordinary human gifts, a dynamic leader who had lived through national and personal catastrophes. Fr. Callahan was a somewhat shy Irish-American priest, though his shyness hid a boldness in leadership. He spoke very sparingly, and with words of wisdom.

One day in 1952, as he was recuperating from an illness at Madonna House, the thought came to him, “This is your second vocation. These people need a chaplain.” It was an incredible moment of grace for the future of fledgling Madonna House. In order to be established in this new vocation, he became incardinated in the diocese of Pembroke, Ontario. Before long he found himself no longer only in a new personal vocation, but the first Director General of the Priests of Madonna House. In 1957 Fr. Callahan took on arranging the priestly formation of the first seminarian of Madonna House, Robert Pelton. He also oversaw the creation of the Associate Priest program. Fr. John Callahan died on April 7, 1984, the day after he had asked Our Lady to take him home.

Our Lady Of Combermere

Our Lady of Combermere

“Our Lady of Combermere” is a title given to Mary the mother of Jesus—initially by Catherine Doherty in the late 1940s at Madonna House, in prayers of intercession to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The title now is connected to the beautiful life-sized bronze statue of Mary, erected near Madonna House in Combermere in 1960, which depicts the Mother of God running with open arms to embrace us, her children, and lead us to her Son, Jesus Christ. At that time it was officially blessed by our bishop and became a shrine recognized by the Vatican as a place of pilgrimage.

Frequently we associate shrines with the miraculous or extraordinary. In Combermere, the miracle is that the events leading to the arrival of the statue and shrine were so simple, ordinary and unremarkable—no apparitions or spectacular occurrences of any kind. This is the very essence of Our Lady of Combermere: she reveals herself deeply present in our ordinary life.

Devotion to the Mother of God under the title of Our Lady of Combermere has grown over the years, not only in Canada and the U.S., but around the world.

It began in the early days of our foundation of Madonna House (1947) which were pioneering days—days of hard work and many inconveniences. Our frozen woodpiles were covered with a couple feet of snow that had to be brushed off and knocked loose before the sticks could be carried into our tiny kitchen. The paths of snow leading from the front and back doors of Madonna House to the little road that connected us with the rest of the world seemed miles long. There was no fast-rising yeast and bread-making had to be started the day before.

What could have been more simple and natural when the pumps would not start, and feet and legs were numb from pushing the gasoline engine pedals, than to call on Our Lady — Mary, the Mother of Jesus — giving her the local musical name of Combermere? “O please, dear Lady of Combermere, help me to start this washing machine… this pump.” Or again: “Help me to loosen this wood,” or “finish this long path in the snow,” or “please, Lady of Combermere, look after this bread; make it rise.” When the wet wood didn’t start burning in our wood stove, an invocation would easily come to one’s lips. In such little prayers it was easy to call her affectionately by a familiar, loved name. This we did among ourselves, in our apostolic family, and Our Lady helped us in the needs and chores of our daily living.

A priest brought us a poem about Our Lady of Combermere, and later a song of Our Lady of Combermere, the music for which had been composed by a priest-friend of his. We adopted that song, made it our hymn and sang it on many occasions. One day several priests visited us; they asked if we had ever thought of how Our Lady of Combermere should look. None of us had thought about that. But we decided that, if we had to draw a picture of Our Lady of Combermere, we would place her near our lovely blue Madawaska River, which flows very close to Madonna House, her arms open in a gesture of welcome and benediction.

One day a few weeks later the mail brought us a picture of Our Lady, drawn by a nun, a Hungarian refugee. It was a nice picture, but not quite what we had imagined Our Lady of Combermere would look like. However we were glad to have it. We framed the sketch and hung it in a place of honor. Sometime later a priest gave us a beautiful prayer to go with the picture, and we began praying it.

Every year Madonna House runs a Summer School of the Lay Apostolate. To the Summer School of 1956 came a woman who immediately fell in love with Our Lady of Combermere. She took a supply of the pictures and prayers back with her to the United States. A few months later we received a letter from the woman saying that she had received a great favor after making a novena to Our Lady of Combermere. In gratitude to her she would like to give us a statue — life-sized, preferably in bronze — to be placed outdoors at Madonna House, thus making a shrine to Our Lady of Combermere! She would beg money to get such a statue. We were quite worried for we knew that one cannot have a public shrine to Our Lady under a title that has not been approved by Rome. So we wrote to our local Bishop, the Most Rev. William J. Smith, Bishop of Pembroke, explaining the situation.

He replied that no new title could be used, or funds collected, until the Sacred Congregation of Rites in Rome had been consulted. He said that he would gladly write to the Sacred Congregation concerning the possible use of this title. He asked us to tell the woman in the U.S.A. not to start collecting money until the answer came from Rome. We did this, of course, immediately. The lady replied that she would wait; we were not to worry. Our Lady of Combermere, she was sure, would see that we received a favorable answer, and that it would be soon! We did not quite share her simple faith in the timing…

Great then was our astonishment and delight when, in less than two months, we received another letter from our bishop informing us that the Sacred Congregation of Rites had left it to his discretion as the local bishop to approve of the title and statue of Our Lady. So, Bishop Smith graciously granted us permission to erect a statue of Mary under the title of “Our Lady of Combermere” and to have it blessed. Our hearts were singing Alleluias, and were truly overflowing with gratitude.

But the question of how Our Lady of Combermere should look remained unanswered. If we were to have a statue, we had to find a sculptor to make it and give him or her an idea of what we wanted. So we prayed and thought and discussed the matter. A large donation of Catholic magazines had come to us and we thought that perhaps we would find in one of them a picture that would strike all of us as the very statue we wanted to represent Our Lady of Combermere. The very first magazine we opened showed us the one! It was the photograph of a statue showing Our Lady hastening with arms wide open to welcome and embrace someone… against a background very similar to ours. She seemed to fit right in. Everyone at Madonna House decided that this was it!

The picture did not give the name of the sculptor. The caption revealed, however, that the statue was located in Santa Barbara, California, and was called “The Questing Madonna.” We wrote to the mayor of Santa Barbara, asking who the sculptor was and received, by return mail, a most gracious answer giving us the details. The sculptor was a woman, a well-known artist, Miss Frances Rich of that city. We wrote to Miss Rich. We were afraid that such a great artist’s fees would be beyond our ability to pay. So we told her very frankly how the whole thing had come about and how we had selected her statue. To our astonishment and joy Miss Rich graciously waived any fee for herself. She loved the story of Our Lady of Combermere. She felt very happy, she said, to be able to bring her to Combermere. All she asked was the price of the pouring of the bronze statue to be made from her model. This work had to be done in Florence, Italy, where the craftsmanship was perfect. We would also pay the shipping charges.

We agreed at once, although we didn’t have the money. We felt sure that if Our Lady of Combermere wanted to come here, she would provide it. We started a burse in her honor, and the money was there when needed. The statue arrived in Combermere in April of 1960 and was erected on a base of cement. On June 8th, 1960 the Bishop of our diocese came to Madonna House and officially blessed the statue. It was an awesome moment for all of us and for the hundreds of friends, including 22 priests, who came to share it with us.

Eddie Doherty wrote about the blessing in our paper, Restoration:

“The newest shrine in Christendom — and the humblest and least pretentious — was blessed on June 8th at Madonna House by His Excellency, the Most Reverend W. J. Smith, Bishop of Pembroke, Ontario. Combermere is a mere crossroads village lost in the vastness of this Canadian province; a town forgotten or ignored by most of the map-makers; a community that has seldom boasted more than a hundred people. But perhaps Our Lady loves the humble places — like Fatima, and Lourdes, and a hundred other shrines.

“The bishop read and sang the words of the blessing. He sprinkled the statue with holy water. He sent the fragrant smoke of incense up and around it, using the ritual fashioned for the purpose many hundreds of years ago. Then, along with everyone present, he said the prayer to Our Lady of Combermere that the people of Madonna House had been saying every day for years… When he had finished this prayer he turned and faced the congregation. He was standing before the statue, between its wide-flung arms, and beneath its tender loving face.

“‘This afternoon’, he said, ‘in this very blessed part of the diocese, in this very beautiful part of the world, I know that, as the years go by, great graces will flow out all over this diocese, all over Canada and the United States, and all over the rest of the world, through Our Lady of Combermere and the great work to which these people have dedicated their lives.

“‘On this very auspicious occasion we bless and dedicate the diocese, the country, and all the Americas to Our Lady of Combermere. Graces will go out in abundance from Our Lady of Combermere…’”

Prayer to Our Lady of Combermere

O Mary, you desire so much to see Jesus loved. Since you love me, this is the favor which I ask of you: to obtain for me a great personal love of Jesus Christ. You obtain from your Son whatever you please; pray then for me, that I may never lose the grace of God, that I may increase in holiness and perfection from day to day, and that I may faithfully and nobly fulfill the great calling in life which your Divine Son has given me. By that grief which you suffered on Calvary when you beheld Jesus die on the Cross, obtain for me a happy death, that by loving Jesus and you, my mother, on earth, I may share your joy in loving and blessing the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit forever in Heaven. Amen.

Our Lady of Combermere, pray for us.

Imprimatur: † Joseph R. Windle, Bishop of Pembroke