Part 5 – Our Kitchen and Cooks


Now, let us proceed to the Madonna House kitchen, where something is baking in the big wood stove. The Madonna House cooks are gathered around enjoying a tea-break, listening to a teaching of Catherine’s about serving others through cooking:

“The kitchen is a holy place. It is the heart of the home. Any place where human beings gather together to break bread becomes the centre of life. From the dawn of history, eating was a tremendous act of very great importance. How food was acquired could condition a whole civilization, turning its people into hunters or nomads. Thus the ‘kitchen,’ whether it was an open fire under a tree, or a primitive abode stove or fireplace, was always at the heart of the family, group, or tribe.


From time immemorial, man knew instinctively that eating is somehow part of worship. Even primitive man recognized that what he ate was given to him by a power greater than himself. Eating, therefore, has always been surrounded with quasi-religious rituals. Sharing one’s food with a stranger was considered a sign of friendship and hospitality. The preparation of food, as well as its acquisition, was an expression of love.

Yes, the kitchen is a holy place. But it became exceedingly holy with the advent of Christ. His mother sanctified it in a very special manner by transforming the fruits of the earth for the nourishment of his human body which he had assumed for our sake. Then it became holy because Christ the Lord used bread and wine to feed us by transforming them into his Body and Blood. Thus, ordinary bread and ordinary wine became the food of saints, God giving himself to us in Communion.”