MH in the West Indies

by Lorna Samuel Skocic,Grenadian friend of MH

When MH Carriacou closed in 1980, one of the members of Madonna House, Genevieve Enoe, was allowed to stay on, taking care of her aging mother. (Genevieve is Carriacouan.)

It was a time of particular challenges for the Church there, including a shortage of priests. Now years later, Genevieve, one of our own, is still selflessly serving us. She is a rock of support and a special gift to the Church in Carriacou and Grenada.

In Genevieve, by her listening, her holiness, her simplicity, and her humility, Madonna House is still very quietly making a very valuable and powerful impact on individual persons and the Church. As a result, these persons are able to stand with confidence in service to God and his Grenadian Church, the Body of Christ.

Trudy Cortens (the founding director of MH Carriacou), Fr. Jim Duffy (its chaplain), and of course, Catherine Dorothy, are names I heard as a youth involved in the Charismatic Renewal led by Rose Hall in Grenada.

Because of the support Rose constantly received from Madonna House, she was strengthened to impact the Church in a tremendous way.

From 1974 through 2016, she led weekly prayer meetings, monthly days of renewal (gathering in a parish church for an entire day for prayer, praise and teaching), and monthly retreats with approximately 40 persons, mostly youth, participating. She also organized, for many years almost single-handedly, public evangelization events such as outdoor missions and concerts.

We can conclude that Madonna House (of course it’s all God’s work) can be credited for preparing the leaders who are serving the Church in 2022. This process began almost fifty years ago.

Who could imagine that one person, yes, Catherine Doherty, could impact countries so far away from her Russian beginnings!

So vividly I remember visiting Madonna House in Barbados (where Madonna House also had a house) where I received a lesson in humility and service of God that made an indelible mark on my life.

I was invited to accompany Beth Ryan and Kathy McVady on one of their daily trips to bring food and provide assistance to sick persons. The stench that invaded my nostrils when they removed the bandage and cleaned the sores of an old lady, almost made me faint.

Yet there they were, cleaning the wound, applying ointment, bandaging it, and smiling and chatting with the woman. And they did it with such ease and tremendous love that I knew only God could give them that grace to voluntarily and happily share their lives like this, receiving no money or material benefit. To me, that was unimaginable.

The work of Madonna House in these parts is mostly undocumented and unknown. Rose Hall passed away and the work of the Renewal continues under the leadership of Mrs. Marcia Rennie.

Like many of the saints, Rose’s work was mainly misunderstood, but her teachings and memories of her work live on in the minds and hearts of so many of us. How can we ever forget?

For example, one of the youth leaders that emerged from Rose’s youth group, Dominic Jeremiah, has been for the past 28 years, the principal of one of the leading Catholic secondary schools in Grenada. Dominic is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in the United States.

I like to consider myself part of the Madonna House family because I do feel this way. I have many of Catherine writings, including Grace in Every Season, which I cherish. (I’ve put a hard cover on it.)

I am privileged to have experienced Madonna House Combermere—Our Lady of Combermere, the maple trees, the dining room, the laundry and gift shop, the farm, Catherine’s cottage, and the chapel. These are vivid pictures and memories when I experienced the love of God and neighbor in action.

Thank you, Madonna House, for allowing me to meet some of the directors and members from time to time as they passed through Grenada on their way to Carriacou.

My memory of the words, “I am Third” on the sign written on the inside door of Madonna House Barbados, helps me even today in my efforts to, in Catherine’s words, “live the Gospel without compromise.”