Saturday, July 12, 2014

This Week in Madonna House - July 5-11

Madonna House is the happening place right now. We are wrapping up the first week of our summer program with a full house of guests and a tremendous spirit of energy and enthusiasm among them.

Full, by the way, means about 40, between the men and the women’s guest dorms. We also have had quite a few priests coming through for short visits, summer being a time when many parishes slow down and the clergy able to have retreats or holidays. We have all been struck this year by the level of enthusiasm, energy, and intense interest in God and in Madonna House that the guests who have arrived in the past weeks have shown. It’s beautiful, really, and the summer looks like it will be ongoing that way, with a continuous stream of people coming through each week for the different themes of the program.

This week the theme was ‘Show Me, God: Finding God Through Truth, Beauty, and Goodness’. Four of the staff gave lunch time presentations related to that topic on Monday and Friday, at the main house and at the farm where many of the guests go to work. Fr. David May gave a class Wednesday evening as well, and at our Friday fast night supper (we have a simple bread and cheese supper on Fridays, to fast for priests) people were invited to share their reflections and thoughts on what had been given them. A simple holy hour in the island chapel, optional, rounded up the week.

Beyond that, it was normal MH life, which this time of year entails a tremendous amount of physical labor. The farm, and especially the vegetable garden, is the place for a great amount of this. We are also in the midst of a long-term project of establishing a blueberry field at St. Mary’s, replacing the strawberries there. This has meant a tremendous amount of hole digging, peat mixing, transplanting, watering, all of which will only bear fruit two years down the line when the bushes are established.

A not so normal event was that a couple from Virginia whose parents live in the area were up visiting and came over one evening to play bluegrass music for us, being very fine musicians of that genre. They are old and good friends of MH, and love to come and share with us the music they love to play, and we love having them do it, so it’s a win-win. Another manifestation of beauty and goodness, in line with the theme of the week.

Well, I’m not sure what else is going on, although I’m quite certain there’s an awful lot that I’m missing here. This is the time of year when we really do start to have so many moving pieces in so many directions that it is pretty much impossible to know everything that’s going on. It is really great, though, especially if you love people, enthusiasm, energy, action (which I do).

That being said, I’m taking my energy, enthusiasm, and action on the road, in about an hour’s time. Heading first for an ordination in Pembroke, then on the road to the Nazareth family apostolate in Quebec for a week of family ministry. No computer, no wifi, and hence, no blog for the week. Pray for me and the families if you can, and I’ll be back next Sunday. God bless you!