Part 8 – The Laundry is a School Of Love

Madonna House

Let’s make our way to the Community’s laundry now and listen to what Catherine has to say about loving God by cleaning and ironing clothes:

“Along with all the other departments of Madonna House, the laundry is a school of love. If there is any place that looks and smells like Nazareth, any place where you can do the things Our Lady did, it is the laundry.

Working in the laundry is one place where a person can learn contemplation. The repetitive work of ironing and folding clothes is so conducive to the freedom of the spirit which allows one to roam at will, now beholding Christ in Nazareth, now meditating on the Eucharist, now thinking about the Scriptures. The laundry directly expresses the love of those who work in it — love for God, for the brothers and sisters in the apostolate, and for the guests whom Our Lady sends us. Truly, each laundress, from the one in charge to the one who just arrived to iron handkerchiefs, can repeat the words of the Lord, ‘I have come to serve.’ He washed the feet of his apostles, and we wash the garments of his apostles. It’s the same act of washing. Souls depend on the perfection of our work, on the spirit with which we approach it. That spirit should be peaceful, prayerful, and full of charity.

Folding clothes

Believe me when I say that peace of soul is achieved by tidiness and order outside the soul, just as the inner peace of the soul will reflect outwardly. There is a type of tidiness which I detest. It does not come from God but from sickness or evil. It is the tidiness that is compulsory, which flows from what the psychiatrists call a ‘perfection complex.’ Its motivation is not approval by God but approval by one another. Nothing should be done for that motivation. There is only one motivation that should exist, the motivation of love; doing all things for love’s sake, for God’s sake, for neighbour’s sake.”