Tag Archives: letters

Catherine and Her Son, George

Catherine de Hueck and young George

Catherine de Hueck and young GeorgePerhaps one of the most frequent problem areas in Catherine’s life that people bring up is her relationship with her son, George. It is common knowledge that George was sent to several boarding schools during the early years of his life. So people ask: How could a real, loving mother send her son to boarding schools during those formative years when he most needed a mother?

Catherine and Father John Callahan

Catherine Doherty with Fr. John Callahan at Madonna House, c. 1981.

Catherine Doherty with Fr. John Callahan at Madonna House, c. 1981.Who is Father John Callahan? It is for the many who do not know who he was, or know very little about him, that I make him the subject of this newsletter. He was the first priest to join Madonna House, and was given the wisdom and courage to accept being Catherine’s spiritual director during the most momentous years of her spiritual life.

Catherine and Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier with Catherine Doherty at Madonna House, 1971.

Jean Vanier with Catherine Doherty at Madonna House, 1971.The gospel influence of Catherine Doherty on others is one indication of the work of the Holy Spirit in her life. Such influences are significant for the evaluation of her holiness. Although Catherine’s contacts with Jean Vanier were less frequent, you will see that he considers her and, even more, her community, to be major influences in his journey to L’Arche.

Catherine and Thomas Merton

Photo of Thomas Merton by John Howard Griffin, used on his funeral card.

Photo of Thomas Merton by John Howard Griffin, used on his funeral card.One aspect of Catherine Doherty’s life of Gospel intensity concerns how she inspired others to love the Lord. Such influence is another indication of the love of God present in, and working through, her. It is my conviction that she had such an influence on Thomas Merton.

Catherine, Fr. Paul and Mother Lurana of Graymoor

I had known that Fr. Paul Watson and Mother Lurana White were significant people in Catherine Doherty’s life. What I hadn’t realized was the depth of their influence. For her to say that her followers of both Friendship House and Madonna House are children of these two great people, and that without their influence we would not be in existence, well, these words opened up a new window for me onto the mystery of Catherine’s spirit.

Catherine and Dorothy Day

Catherine Doherty recieves a kiss from Dorothy Day at the Lay Congress in Rome, Fall 1957.

Catherine Doherty recieves a kiss from Dorothy Day at the Lay Congress in Rome, Fall 1957.One of the great contemporary adventures that unfortunately is not narrated is the friendship of these two great women, Catherine Doherty and Dorothy Day. They were raised up by the Holy Spirit at the same historical moment in the Church of North America. They were almost mirror images of one another: totally loyal Catholics, serving the poor, conditioned by the great depression, women of prayer, dedicated to the Church, founders of movements that continue to this day.