Monday, July 30, 2012

Mother was a Revolutionary (Catherine de Hueck Doherty)

Catherine Doherty (1896-1985) grew up in Russia. Go HERE for more details of her life. In this passage she gives us a glimpse of the mother who influenced her so greatly. 

My mother had revolutionary ideas, in the Christian sense. She believed that all Christians must love one another! She translated this love into direct action, especially by involvement with the poor. She was a talented concert pianist, and during her under-graduate years at the Conservatory of St. Petersburg, she "went to the people" every summer. This means that she hired herself out for a few rubles as a maid, to just the type of people that Joseph and Mary were: worker-peasants. 

Her days there were strenuous. She got up early, helped with the cleaning, prepared the breakfast, did the washing all by hand, went on with the chores of the day, prepared lunch and dinner, cleaned - whatever this peasant family needed. By fall she had also succeeded in teaching the whole family how to read and write. 

I have always attributed my vocation, at least in part, to my parents, especially my mother. She went to the poor people, because, like other Russians, she felt herself a member of the Mystical Body of Christ. Every Russian keenly felt this oneness with all Christians. 

I thought all parents were like mine, but now I know better. Not for a moment did they ever neglect to instill Gospel attitudes in me. In my organization of Friendship House and Madonna House, I used the ideas and patterns I learned from them.

 - from Fragments of My Life, quoted in Through the Year with Catherine Doherty: Grace in Every Season, page 131.


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