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We are a Catholic community of laymen, women, and priests who bear witness to the merciful love of God revealed in Christ Jesus. Our life together is modelled after the Holy Family who served humbly in the hidden village of Nazareth, forming the first community of love. We follow the path of Mary, the perfect disciple, under the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Our Foundress


Catherine de Hueck Doherty founded Madonna House as a lay apostolate in 1947. Our spirituality is summed up in the Gospel words of the Little Mandate. Although we are primarily Roman Catholic, we pray to be a sign of unity between the Eastern and Western Churches. Our aim is to “breathe with both lungs” so that
our spirituality and life together may be a unique expression of sobornost. Sobornost is a gift of the Spirit: a profound unity of mind and heart, a charism taught by our founder who was raised in Christian Russia in the early twentieth century, before the wars and the Russian Revolution.

Our Lady of Combermere

Visitors to Madonna House are soon introduced to an unusual and beautiful statue of Mary, Mother of God, hidden among the tall pines next to what we call the Main House. Her official title is Our Lady of Combermere, and this site has been a place of pilgrimage and prayer in a quiet, hidden way since 1960.

The Little Mandate

Arise – go! Sell all you possess.
Give it directly, personally to the poor.
Take up My cross (their cross) and follow Me,
going to the poor, being poor,
being one with them, one with Me.

Little – be always little! Be simple, poor, childlike.

Preach the Gospel with your life – without compromise!
Listen to the Spirit. He will lead you.

Do little things exceedingly well for love of Me.

Love…love…love, never counting the cost.

Go into the marketplace and stay with Me.
Pray, fast. Pray always, fast.

Be hidden. Be a light to your neighbour’s feet.
Go without fears into the depths of men’s hearts. I shall be with you.

Pray always. I will be your rest.