Thursday, January 15, 2015

Madonna House: The Movie

One of our communal enterprises this past year has been the making of a series of twelve short films on the MH apostolate, its various works and aspects of our community life. We hired a film company to come in and work with us on this, and the results are now up on YouTube, as well as the company's own website.

I think they did a great job, personally, and the videos are an excellent way to present MH in the short attention span internet age, so I'm going to host them on this blog, one per week, for the next little while. This first one is a broad overview introduction to our life here in Combermere. Here is the video, after which I highlight some of the things that struck me about it:

Noteable Quotes:

“Madonna House was never anyone’s bright idea.”
“She looked around and said, ‘This place will teach me how to love God.’”
“We have a challenging lifestyle here… We have a smaller life than some people… but when people come here, they find a place that welcomes them, lets them be themselves.”
“There’s a moment where they start to encounter God in a way they didn’t before, and everything else can fall away, and all we do is try to get out of the way.”
“You walk into a place like this, all these men and women, priests, and they’re trying to love one another, and it’s safer than most places… safe enough to let down your guard, eventually, to reveal your heart, eventually.”
“It’s a very fruitful life.”

“People come here and say, this is paradise… they mean it’s a place of love and peace that is not common in our world. So I found out in live in paradise!”

I like these quotes; taken together, they do give something of the essence of the place. We are here to love God; we are here to love one another. By loving one another we create a place where people can come and encounter God, which is entirely His doing. Our life has its challenging and sacrificial aspects, but it is ultimately very beautiful, very joyful, very peaceful--paradise!

So, I hope you enjoy the show, and that these videos will help get the word out there a bit. One thing we here in Combermere have become aware of over the last years, and it makes us all a bit amused or bemused, is that MH has gotten this reputation among the young Catholic crowd as this horrible hard place, like a spiritual boot camp or something. And they avoid coming here as a result, which is too bad.

Really, being a guest at MH has got its tough elements (although they are really very little compared to the stresses and strains of being a parent or many other heavily responsible positions), but our life is really so beautiful and often quite healing and transformative for people.

So, every Thursday or so, it will be movie time on this blog. Pop your popcorn and see what there is to see. 


  1. Had to laugh at the "hard" "spiritual boot camp" description of a MH guest. I found that it was not a hard life at all, but then I was a much older guest when I spent my 6 months there. When I talk with young people thinking about going I warn them that their smart phones and laptops won't work 24/7 so they might want to start weaning themselves off the electronic connection.

    The letting go of the constant desire to check email, and not watching my TV, movies and music all day gave me the real appreciation of the beauty, silence and wonder at how God does speak when He is given some silence to whisper in my heart. The acclimation especially for the young adults might be hard for them to adjust to, but it also teaches them they can lead a much fuller life disconnected from worldly distractions and find God is there in the simple things of life.

    Work is simple at MH and not taxing, or hard. The hours are reasonable and work is so broken up by tea time, meals, Mass, Spiritual Readings and breaks that I figured a guest really does maybe 4 to 4 1/2 hours of work a day at best. For anybody that has worked in the real world at a 8 hour a day/40 hours a week job for low wages knows that is nothing. Having gone through Army boot camp it is nothing like boot camp, rather you are surrounded by caring people who really want to listen to you and hear what you think about something. And no push ups or running!

    My main advice especially to young adults is take several weeks to stay up there if you are able, maybe during summer break or right after graduation. It takes about 1-2 weeks to get use to a whole new schedule, like anything in life, and suddenly one day you are feeling a peace inside and joy you never felt before. You are truly glad to see the now familiar faces surrounding you at supper and you are laughing and having fun conversing with people of all ages, backgrounds and life experiences who share a common goal- wanting to live fully for God. Great graces do fall upon those who visit and are willing to just relax, let go and be in the moment for God to reach out and touch their hearts.

    1. Yes, our reputation for being such a brutally hard place is... slightly exaggerated. I've mostly heard this from people who have never actually been here, to be honest!

  2. If I didn't live so far away & wasn't so old I would love to be there


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.