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St. Joseph’s House, Combermere

Here are just a few glimpses of life at our mission house down the road, our house that serves our local area


by Miriam Storey

This past summer, Sara and I were able to participate in the local annual pilgrimage to St. Ann’s Shrine in Cormac. We walked from Our Lady of the Angels in Brudenell to St. Ann’s.—a distance of 15 km. (9 1/3 miles). Participants ranged in age from toddler to mid-seventies.

Since Madonna House has been in the area for 75 years, it’s not uncommon that when people find out that we are from Madonna House, they share a memory of a member they knew or some piece of wisdom they learned from one of them.

One of the participants, for example, shared that she had been encouraged by one of our priests to pray: “In Christ, with Christ, through Christ” whenever she was in pain. He gave her this tip when she was suffering from kidney stones 20 or 30 years ago.

Then later on in the pilgrimage, Sara and I heard her pass this word of wisdom on to her friend who was having hip pain.

On a lot of levels, it was a wonderful day of prayer and of encouraging each other to persevere in the walk.


by Sara Matthews

When I was assigned here a few months ago, my first impression was of the phone. It rang and still rings all the time.

My second impression was of the cheerfulness and patience of my sisters in the house as they answer it. By the tone of their voices, you would think it was the first phone call of the day, not the twentieth.

Many calls are to schedule an appointment at the shops. Sometimes it is to ask for or offer a larger piece of furniture or an appliance. Other times it is a local friend calling to chat.

The shops, which offer second-hand clothing and other necessities, are still open only by appointment as they were during part of COVID-Time. This allows us to visit with our neighbors and friends who come and also gives us more time for other services.

Since the affordability crisis is hitting here as it is everywhere, we are very happy to be able to provide inexpensive clothing and household goods to the local community.


by Sofia Segal

I have been marveling at the goodness and generosity of God as he has provided over and over again for us and others and continues to show his love in and through our benefactors and the people of this valley.

We are only four people at St. Joe’s now, but quite a few local friends and neighbors are helping us with the shops and our other work. Some come regularly and others come to help with specific projects.

One man, for example, cut our wood and cleared away a lot of the brush that had grown up around our marsh and back garden.

And several helped at our chicken bee. Two people gave Miriam and Sara a refresher course on gutting, and two men butchered the chickens. A mother and her two children, ages 11 and 9, caught the chickens and gutted.

All of this has been a gift not only of help from our neighbors but also of the opportunity to get to know them even better and to share our life more deeply with them.