This week in Madonna House was one of, on the one hand, much listening and speaking, praying and pondering together, and on the other hand, lots of hard work and much to do.
Of course the focus of the week was the beginning of the Directors’ Meetings, mentioned last week in this space. We had two days of retreat, to begin the meetings in a prayerful, listening spirit, and on Monday began the meetings proper with opening remarks from our Directors General, followed by short reports from each of the individual houses of our apostolate (this is still ongoing, and will be for at least another full day).
Obviously I cannot share in this public space the details of the meetings, but will say that so far they are a rich and thoughtful, peaceful and prayerful, open and honest airing and sharing of the work of God and the work of man in MH, and the concerns and questions before us at this time.
Meanwhile, of course, this is a most busy time of year in Combermere. The garden work is beginning in full swing, with much preparation of fields—plowing, harrowing, disking—and all the immense work of planting and transplanting well begun. Most of this is still in the greenhouse phase, as it is still rather chilly at night, too much so to bed things out just yet.
The gift shops are gearing up for the major tourist season, coming soon. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this aspect of MH before. It was 50 years ago that Catherine had a singular inspiration: to have a gift shop in which we would sell the nicer things that come in donation along with our own handicrafts, all of the proceeds of which would go to the developing world.
The shop, now two shops (one upscale, the other more economical), a book shop and a pioneer museum, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a gala opening in a couple weeks, featuring a show of works by one of our artists, Patrick Stewart. For 50 years, though, the luxury goods and collectibles and beautiful craft pieces of our affluent society have been turned into bread and medicine, books and wells for the poorest of the poor of the world. Every penny of sales has gone overseas, to dozens of countries, into hands of individuals we know and trust to use it directly for the poor they serve. A work of love and ingenuity that has done more good than any of us can possibly imagine.
In the midst of all this work (I’ve barely scraped the surface of it) a film crew showed up on the weekend to shoot footage of us. This is part of a project we are doing, to make better and more up-to-date videos about MH that we can use in our various apostolates. These people are in the process of making a series of short (YouTube length, if you know what I mean) videos about different aspects of our life. So they came this weekend and shot us in various settings and activities, what in the industry is known as B-roll footage to accompany the A-roll interview footage they have mostly done already. Fun, and they are good professional calibre people, which is always an education in itself to work with.
Well, I’m sure there’s quite a bit more going on in MH this week—it really is a major preparation time for many summer things, and awfully busy in consequence. I am posting this the evening before rather than my usual morning post, as I am heading out bright and very early tomorrow morning with a bunch of other MH folk for the annual March for Life on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Maybe see some of you there, and if not, pray for us and for an end to the scourge of abortion in our time. Peace and joy to you all, and back Friday with more of Humanae Vitae!