Farewell to Missouri

by Paul Mitchell

MH Marian Acres – Missouri

Ever wonder what it’s like to leave a mission house? Here’s how one member is experiencing it.


As my sabbatical draws to an end, there is a lot of emotion happening inside me. It isn’t that I do not want to go back to St. Mary’s. I love St. Mary’s and the Main House in Combermere also. There are many people there that I miss every day.

It is much quieter at Marian Acres, but the busyness of Combermere is all right. My director general, Larry Klein, has asked me to go back there; therefore, God wants me to go back. Therefore, I want to be back. I try not to have an opinion on this type of thing. If I listen and do God’s will: (l) I don’t have to think so much, and (2) My will gets me into trouble. Obedience saves me from that.

We often talk here in our house about nature, what we see and hear all the time. The birds, flora, insects, spiders, snakes, lizards, etc. are different from the ones I knew elsewhere. In other ways, this region is a lot like the Combermere area though with a lot fewer lakes. I’ve always liked looking at nature, but I have a feeling I will see things differently when I get back to Combermere.

When I arrived here, I was not a fan of stores. Then the director Patrick Stewart explained to me that stores are “the marketplace,” (the word our foundress Catherine used to describe the everyday world). So I started looking at these places differently.

If I were a writer, I could write a book about what I’ve seen and experienced just in the Walmart parking lot.

Some of my favorite people work in the local businesses. I will miss them terribly; I think they will miss me, too.

Heather, our mail carrier, is one of them. I just love Heather because God put her in my heart.

I love going to the gas station. I have so much interaction with the people doing business there and the people who work there. Good people they are. As much as I love the people at the parish, I will miss the moments I have had with the people at the local businesses the most.

Parish life: This is hard to write about because Michelle Kuhr did such a wonderful job telling about it in her article in the September Restoration. The people in the parish are good Catholic people, struggling, and just by their struggling, they show me how to do it. Our parish here really is a Christian community; I see the same struggles here as I do at Madonna House.

Sacred Heart is actually the first parish I have lived in since I was a child. (After that, I was out of the Church, and then I was in Madonna House Combermere.) God bless the people here; I love them very much. Really, the parish became family to me in a way which is different from the other relationships that I developed here. They thank me for what I have done; I don’t know what I have done.

Considering the fact that this is a quiet house, there really have been a lot of people coming and going—well, before COVID-Time. Too bad about COVID-19. That changed a lot of what could have been, but God worked in other ways. Who can understand the mind of God?

I am an American, and I never thought that I would live on American soil again. Now I have been here for 22 plus months. It has been a real gift to be back in this country. She is so screwed up these days, but I love her just the same. God bless America!

Finally, I cannot write this article without saying this: We at Marian Acres have to do everything for ourselves, things that others do for us in Combermere—like wash our clothes and cook our meals. In Combermere, I always appreciated the kitchen, but my gratitude runs deeper now that I’ve had to cook here. Departing brings sadness to me, which is okay. God is so good to me and will continue to be so. I could have not asked for a better sabbatical.