Monday 1st November, 2021
Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer (Madonna, 1993) 6-7.
Image: Dimitri Anikin, Vienna, @anikinearthwalker
This quote is from Catherine de Hueck Doherty (1896-1985), Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer (Madonna House Publications, 1993), 6-7. 'Ekaterina', as she was baptised, was a Russian-Canadian social worker and pioneer of social justice who is currently being considered for Canonisation by the Roman Catholic Church. In 1947 Catherine established the Madonna House Apostolate, a global network of lay and ordained people who seek to make the teachings of Jesus incarnate by living as a community of love - see here. When asked once what the Madonna House was, Doherty replied, 'It is an open door. It is a cup of tea or coffee, good and hot. It is an invitation to work for the common good.' Catherine de Hueck Doherty was also a prolific author and the Madonna House shop lists and sells all her titles, here. But she is perhaps best known for Poustinia, the book from which today's quote is taken, which introduced the Western Church to the poustinia of its title: a small, sparsely furnished cabin or room, for Russians, often located within a wood, where encounter with God is sought in silence and solitude. In this book, now widely thought of as a classic text amongst twentieth century Christian spiritual writings, Doherty combines her extensive encounter with the great spiritual traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church with her very personal encounters with Christ - see here. For a 6 minute video of Carherine speaking about the topic of another of her books, Sobornost, which translates as 'unity' see here and for a longer, 25 minute video about her spirituality, see here.