In 1954 Catherine Doherty received a request from Bishop Jean-Louis Coudert of Whitehorse, Yukon to send a team of her staff to come and help him to serve the needs of his people here, in particular the Native people. At that time she sent three of her staff and Maryhouse was begun, the first field house of Madonna House in Combermere.
We are located in the heart of downtown Whitehorse, which has a population of approximately 23,000 people. There is a cathedral downtown and one other Catholic parish in the city, and many Catholic missions throughout the territory.
From the beginning, our work here has been to provide for the needs of the poor. For more than 40 years we offered emergency shelter to the poor and transients. Although shelters are no longer part of our ministry, we continue to provide some food and clothing, and friendship and hospitality to the many who come to our doors. We visit the sick and shut-ins.
We also help provide for the spiritual needs of the communities by offering poustinia rooms and helping in the two local Catholic parishes. We host meetings of the Holy Family Apostolate — families who gather around the Little Mandate to deepen their faith life and discern how to live mission, in their own community or, if called, elsewhere.
We live the ordinary, simple lifestyle of cooking, cleaning, chopping wood and, most importantly, our daily life of prayer together and Mass, as we aim to preach the Gospel with our lives as we are asked in the Little Mandate.