This week in Madonna House was a fairly ordinary quiet one, marked by two special events. The farm is starting to transition from fall to winter, with the last root crops coming in (we are still harvesting kale which grows until the snow comes), and the meat cutting from the cattle and sheep slaughtering well on the way to completion.
The men have been building an addition onto the farmhouse--extra living quarters for our rather cramped farmers--and this week was the 'breakthrough' from the old original house to the new addition. Some interior work still remains to be done. Another big project at the farm that I probably failed to mention has been the installation of an outside wood stove, a single wood burning unit that can heat multiple buildings through a series of buried pipes. It is a technological feat to get it right, and our men did a great job (as they always do).
The two events of the week were Canadian Thanksgiving and our own MH Foundation Day, on Monday and Thursday respectively. Thanksgiving was a regular work day for us, but we had a festive meal in the evening (not exactly turkey with all the trimmings, but nice nonetheless). The library had put up the usual Thanksgiving display of our farm produce, everything from potatoes to maple syrup, while at St. Mary's they creatively added 'God's harvest' for the year--pictures of the MH staff who have died this year.
In addition to the display, we had a large Hubbard squash and a contest to guess its weight. This generated much conversation and laughter, and there were three winners in the end who all came within half a pound of the correct weight (45.5 lbs).
Foundation Day marks for us the day when Catherine first moved into the slums of Toronto to begin what would become Friendship House. She had no idea at the time that she was 'beginning' anything beyond her own attempt to obey what God had been asking of her for some years previously. I have always considered it one of the great testimonies to her character that her original idea of a solitary hidden apostolate would so quickly give way to a communal organized one, and that she surrendered to this so totally and gave herself to it ungrudgingly. It wasn't her idea!
So again we had some great displays of photos and original documents and so forth. The date of our foundation happens to be October 15, the feast day of Teresa of Avila, so at supper we had the two women 'visit' us from heaven where they shared together stories of their lives. It turns out they have quite a bit in common!
Beyond that, we have a house full of guests, many of them young and full of energy and enthusiasm, so the house is rather bustling and noisy. Lots of music in the basement in the evenings and games being played in the dining room. It's nice!
And that's about it for the week, as far as I can remember. There's always lots going on in MH that I either don't know about or can't readily write about in this public log. It's a happening place, man. Know that as we go about all our work, we offer our lives in prayer for the world and for all its needs at this time.