Associate Priests



Priests and deacons visiting Madonna House in Combermere stay at Vianney House, where they are welcome to make retreat or take holidays. Are you looking for a scenic place of great quiet where you have access to a chapel and a beautiful countryside to walk? We offer such a place. You can: 1) be completely on your own (except for meals and liturgy with the community) 2) have a directed retreat 3) join in the daily work schedule of the community. Our foundress, Catherine Doherty, had a great love for priests. Vianney House is part of her vision to help priests “come apart and rest a while”.


“Catherine Doherty’s love for the priesthood radiates… Her growing awareness of the powerful grace of priesthood and its clear identity in Christ are so necessary for priests and for the world today. In these days, we are acutely aware of the humanity of our priests, as indeed Catherine was; but her words suggest that she saw more deeply into the tremendous grace that is priesthood.”
— Fr. Stephen J. Rossetti, Ph.D., D.Min., former President of the St. Luke Institute


Associate Priests

As Madonna House has grown, many diocesan priests have asked to become associated with our apostolate, living out the spirit of The Little Mandate in their home dioceses. We now have approximately 100 priests, deacons, and bishops who are Madonna House Associates and who come from all around the world. The associate priests are often in touch with the Madonna House field house in their area and once a year they gather in Combermere for a week-long retreat.

What is a Priest - Poem

What is a Priest?

by Catherine Doherty

A priest is a lover of God.
A priest is a lover of men.
A priest is a holy man.


A priest understands all things.
A priest forgives all things.
A priest encompasses all things.
The heart of a priest is pierced, like Christ’s,
with the lance of love.


The heart of a priest is open, like Christ’s,
for the whole world to walk through.


The heart of a priest is a vessel of compassion.
The heart of a priest is a chalice of love.
The heart of a priest is the trysting place
of human and divine love.


A priest is a man whose goal is to be another Christ;
a priest is a man who lives to serve.


A priest is a man who has crucified himself
so that he too may be lifted up
and draw all things to Christ.
A priest is a man in love with God.


A priest is the gift of God to man
and of man to God.


A priest is the symbol of the Word made flesh.
A priest is the naked sword of God’s justice.
A priest is the hand of God’s mercy.
A priest is the reflection of God’s love.


Nothing can be greater in this world than a priest,
nothing but God himself.


Excerpted from “Dear Father” (p. 11-12)