This is a book of prayers taken from the spiritual diaries of Catherine Doherty. They are an outpouring of her most unguarded thoughts, her deepest yearnings, her most frank conversations with her beloved Lord. Catherine centered her life on Jesus Christ—he was her inspiration, the one who taught her to love. He was her friend, her source of hope and consolation. These prayers may encourage you, they may challenge you, they may bring tears or smiles to you; they may give you new insights into yourself. And more, we hope they help you to deepen your relationship with the God who loves you so much.
A sacred journey
In this book you take a sacred journey into the soul of Catherine Doherty. These prayers come from her spiritual diaries covering the period from 1931 to 1938, as she struggled to find her own vocation within the Church, and was led to begin Friendship House.
In these diaries she poured out her deepest yearnings, her most unguarded thoughts, and her frankest conversations with her beloved Lord. Here you share her growing faith, which sustained her through the many dark times she experienced in these years.
Each short entry can easily be used for meditation. As you peruse the table of contents, you are sure to find a prayer of Catherine’s that speaks to your own heart and situation.
With an extensive Introduction by Lorene Hanley Duquin, author of They Called her the Baroness, you will come to know Catherine through her life story, with its joys and many sufferings. You will meet a real person in this woman, and you will touch a heart of great faith that perhaps can help sustain your own.
The spiritual life of Catherine Doherty
Catherine centered her life on Jesus Christ; he was her inspiration, the one who taught her to love. He was her friend, her source of hope and the one she could count on to understand. From earliest childhood she had learned to rely on him for everything.
Born into the wealth of the Russian nobility, she fled the Bolshevik Revolution and settled in North America, where she reestablished herself financially, and then, for love of God abandoned her worldly success to serve the poor. Catherine served tirelessly in Toronto during the Great Depression, then during the late 1930s became an outspoken promoter of Racial Justice in the U.S.
She later founded Madonna House, a community which continues to serve the physical and spiritual needs of the world’s poor. She was also a wife, and later, a single mother, and faced many of the personal tragedies that confront people today. She often said when we stretch out one hand to God in prayer, we must stretch out the other to our brother and sister in service, thus becoming cruciform. If we love God, we must love our neighbor as well; in loving one another, we love Christ.
Catherine was a spiritual mother for the 20th century. She recognized that she was living in an era of de-Christianization characterized by hedonism, materialism, and a narcissistic culture, and understood its cause—a turning away from God. She offered an antidote with her vision of living the Gospel without compromise. In a spiritually darkened world, she incarnated this vision in every aspect of her life and taught it through her many writings and talks to various groups. Catherine’s Gospel vision has perennial value because it is rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
She died in Combermere, Ontario in 1985. Her cause for canonization was opened and she is now officially called a Servant of God.
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