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news from Madonna House Toronto

Fr. James Duffy, priest and chaplain to Madonna House Toronto,movedto Combermere in November.  Hewill be deeply missed by his many friends in Toronto.

On september 14th, there was a joint anniversary celebration of Trudi's 60th and Marie's 50th year of promises in Madonna House.  Both were very thankful for the food, flowers andgifts theyreceived.  They donated cash gifts to help the ebola crisis in Liberia.

Trudi Cortens recalled some events of her 60 years ofservice.

"One night about 11 PM, we received a phone call from a lady askingif we're Catholic andif it was a sin to commit suicide.It turned out that she passed by our house everyday and although she wasn't a Catholic, she decided thatgood people lived here and she would phone us to talk about suicide.  We were able to go over to her house and endedup convincing her that suicide was not the way to go. We returned home at 3 am."

"A fellow from Ethiopia named Michael called and needed our help.  When asked how he knewof Madonna House, he said he was in the refugee camp in Sudan and met an American volunteer who had been to Madonna House Combermere.  She recommended to him to call Madonna House whenhe arrived in Toronto.  We endedup findinga one room apartment and helped furnish it for him."

"Oneof theholiest experiences we had was with a lady who required help to go to the bathroom due to muscular dystrophy. She could not bend her knees.  Fortunately we lived only a few doors away and every time a bathroom need arose, we dashed over to give a hand.  We also had the occasion to go to court with er to assist her with legal matters."

"While working on the island of Carriacou in the Caribbean, we met a humble fisherman by the name of Canute Calliste.  Attending a local baptism, one of our staff noticed on the doorway & on the back of chairs some drawings which made her wonder whether the artist could possibly be an authentic primitive painter.  We were able to get him to paint on a pressboard canvas and we sent it to the Regina Public Library where weknew of a man who would be acquainted if this was genuinely primitive.  A quick reply was received that Canute was indeed a primitive painter and we should continue to encourage him to paint.  This he did and his art pieces were sold to the many tourists in the West Indies.  In time they went further afield and his pieces are now owned by many including the Smithsonian Institute and even Buckingham Palace!  However, Canute at 68 could not write his own name in order to sign incoming cheques.  So we set ourselves to teach him and what a thrill this was for him and for us - watching him practice writing his name.  It was like letting a man out of prison!"

Finally, Marie will long be remembered for founding a Madonna House in Magadan, Russia, thus bringing Catherine's spirituality back to her roots.

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