View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Contemporary Little Flower (from a saint)

Somewhere around 1934 or 1935, the Archbishop of Toronto, Most Reverend Neil McNeil, called me in, gave me a newspaper and said, "Here is a woman who writes as you speak." That was interesting to hear, and I realized he had given me The Catholic Worker, which was being sent to many of the bishops of Canada and America by Dorothy Day. What I read was very interesting.

The Archbishop told me that I should go see her. I replied, "Well, I haven't got any money," because in those days I didn't have two pennies to rub against one another. "Oh," he said, "I will pay your way." So he gave me some money and I took a train to New York.

I got to 16th Street where Dorothy Day was. I found a big apartment all filled with cots. On each cot, because it was evening, there was somebody sleeping, or lying around, for Dorothy was helping the poor women in those days. There was only one empty bed that she herself slept in. She said, "Catherine, you can sleep with me."

I was about to go to sleep when there was a knock on the door and a woman came in. I looked at her and it seemed to me that she had syphilis -- advanced syphilis at that.

She said to Dorothy, "Can I have a place to stay?" And Dorothy welcomed her warmly and said, "Oh, indeed, you can sleep with me." I got a little worried about it. We went into the bathroom and Dorothy said, "Catherine, you can sleep in the bathtub." I was ready to sleep in the bathtub, but, speaking as a nurse, I told Dorothy that this woman was a major health threat. If Dorothy had any open cuts or anything she might become infected herself.

It was then I certainly got my first lesson in charity. Dorothy, usually mild, gentle and kind, suddenly arose, and in a spirited voice said, "Catherine, you don't understand. This is Christ who has come to ask for a place to sleep. He will take care of me. I am sleeping with Christ and nothing can happen to me. You have to have faith!"

- from an account by Catherine de Hueck Doherty, founder of the Madonna House Lay Apostolate in 1947, now based in Combermere, Ontario, Canada.


Post a Comment

<< Home