05 Sep Saved From the New Age
by Daniel Rabideau
It would never have entered my mind or heart to come to a place like Madonna House. I had left the Church at 19 and spent the next twenty years seeking true enlightenment, mostly in the New Age Movement.
During that time, I mostly lived in material poverty so I could devote my time to this search.
This search led me to many places—some seemingly shimmering in true light and some very dangerous to the soul.
Then, around 1983, with the intention of becoming a monk and giving my all to this search, I entered a Hindu ashram in California.
But after I was there for two years, they decided I was too worldly to be a monk. They said, however, that I could continue living in the monastery and taking part in their lives as long as I wanted to.
Much at peace, I decided to live nearby in a tent in the desert. There I had a wonderful life, being in nature and meditating.
After six months of this, the opportunity came to move to New Zealand with some like-minded people and start a community of love. We were very serious about this.
But first I had to go back to Toronto in Canada, where I am from, to get the necessary passport and visa. An old friend offered me a place to stay while doing this.
What a surprise when I found out she was Catholic—a daily communicant, even!
She told me she wanted to learn how to mediate, so I began to show her. The first night, after I had showed her the lotus position, we began our meditation. We had barely begun, maybe it was three minutes or so into the meditation, when suddenly a flash of light went through me.
It made me so nervous that I asked her for a cigarette to calm me down. Yes, she smoked. I hadn’t smoked or drunk coffee for years since it is not good for meditation.
The next evening, we sat down to begin meditating again, and after about three minutes I was slain in the Spirit. I was engulfed in the most exquisite love of Jesus Christ. There are no words to describe the experience.
My friend later told that I was with Jesus for about 2½ hours. During that time, Jesus showed me many things which totally changed my life. I am in awe of that experience to this day.
The next day, when my friend was about to go to Mass, she asked me if I would like to join her. Oh yes!
As I was entering the doors of the church, I heard Jesus say, “All your sins are forgiven.” Can you imagine that!
The simple Mass penetrated my whole being. What a gift!
Many things happened after that, too many to tell you about. But I will say that I soon spent an hour and a half with a priest in the confessional, experiencing God’s mercy. The love of our God is an awesome love.
I was still looking for a place of love and I now knew that I had a vocation within the Catholic Church. I kept going to daily Mass.
My friend brought me to talk to a priest. She told him that I had had enough discipline, that I needed love.
He became very thoughtful, then said, “I know a place. Madonna House.”
So, in the fall of 1986, the year after Catherine’s death, there I was at Madonna House.
My poor spiritual director there listened to me for nine months. I couldn’t wait to leave, and I told him I was going to do so “when the lilacs bloom,” because hitchhiking would be good by then. But God had other plans.
My spiritual director suggested I go to test my vocation with the Carthusians (the most ascetic contemplative community in the Church) in Vermont. He even paid my way as I had no money.
When I walked through the gates of the monastery, for the first time in my life I felt at home on this planet earth. I had heard it said that the Carthusians are halfway to heaven, and it felt like that to me. I felt like I had always been there.
The plan was that I was to stay there for the next six months to test my vocation. That was my plan; God had other plans.
On my tenth day there, we were in the chapel at 3 a.m. at a prayer vigil for Pentecost. After about a half hour, I heard in my heart a very clear voice. Our Lady was saying, “Go back to Madonna House and be a little pebble in the hand of God.”
What could I do? In obedience to Our Lady, I left the monastery and returned to Madonna House.
I arrived close to the time the community accepts applicants, people in formation to become members, and I became an applicant. I have belonged to Madonna House ever since.
I am telling this story in thanksgiving for all that our awesome God has done through the House of Our Lady.
And this was only the beginning of my incredible journey in the love of God.