Catherine Doherty
Overview
 
Ekaterina Fyodorovna Kolyschkine Doherty, better known as Catherine Doherty, CM
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

, Servant of God
Servant of God
Servant of God is a title given to individuals by various religions, but in general the phrase is used to describe a person believed to be pious in his or her faith tradition. In the Catholic Church, it designates someone who is being investigated by the Church for possibly being recognized as a...

 (August 15, 1896–December 14, 1985) was a social activist and foundress of the Madonna House Apostolate
Madonna House Apostolate
The Madonna House Apostolate is a Catholic Christian community of lay men, women, and priests dedicated to loving and serving Jesus Christ in all aspects of everyday life. It was founded in 1947 by Catherine Doherty in Combermere, Ontario and has established missionary field houses...

. A pioneer of social justice
Social justice
Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being. The term and modern concept of "social justice" was coined by...

 and a renowned national speaker
Public speaking
Public speaking is the process of speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners...

, Catherine was also a prolific writer of hundreds of articles, best-selling author
Author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

 of dozens of books, and a dedicated wife and mother. Her cause for canonization
Canonization
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

 as a saint is under consideration by the Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

.
She was born Ekaterina Fyodorovna Kolyschkine (Екатерина Фёдоровна Колышкина) in Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod , colloquially shortened to Nizhny, is, with the population of 1,250,615, the fifth largest city in Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Yekaterinburg...

, Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

.
Quotations

With God, every moment is the moment of beginning again.

Living the Gospel Without Compromise

Lord, give me the heart of a child, and the awesome courage to live it out as an adult.

Molchanie

Lord, give bread to the hungry, and hunger for you to those who have bread.

Dearly Beloved, Vol. III

What you do matters — but not much. What you are matters tremendously.

Madonna House Staff Letter 140

Faith sees God's face in every human face.

Poustinia

Real zeal is standing still and letting God be a bonfire in you.

Poustinia

Pain is the kiss of Christ.

Dearly Beloved, Vol. III

I am third.

Sobornost

To pass through the door that leads to God's kingdom, we must go down on our knees.

Soul of My Soul

You live between two Masses. You exist in the present moment.

Madonna House Staff Letter 140

Encyclopedia
Ekaterina Fyodorovna Kolyschkine Doherty, better known as Catherine Doherty, CM
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

, Servant of God
Servant of God
Servant of God is a title given to individuals by various religions, but in general the phrase is used to describe a person believed to be pious in his or her faith tradition. In the Catholic Church, it designates someone who is being investigated by the Church for possibly being recognized as a...

 (August 15, 1896–December 14, 1985) was a social activist and foundress of the Madonna House Apostolate
Madonna House Apostolate
The Madonna House Apostolate is a Catholic Christian community of lay men, women, and priests dedicated to loving and serving Jesus Christ in all aspects of everyday life. It was founded in 1947 by Catherine Doherty in Combermere, Ontario and has established missionary field houses...

. A pioneer of social justice
Social justice
Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being. The term and modern concept of "social justice" was coined by...

 and a renowned national speaker
Public speaking
Public speaking is the process of speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners...

, Catherine was also a prolific writer of hundreds of articles, best-selling author
Author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

 of dozens of books, and a dedicated wife and mother. Her cause for canonization
Canonization
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

 as a saint is under consideration by the Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

.

Early life

She was born Ekaterina Fyodorovna Kolyschkine (Екатерина Фёдоровна Колышкина) in Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod , colloquially shortened to Nizhny, is, with the population of 1,250,615, the fifth largest city in Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Yekaterinburg...

, Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

. Her parents, Fyodor and Emma Kolyschkine, belonged to the minor nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 and were devout members of the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 who had their child baptized in St. Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 on September 15, 1896. She was not baptized on the same day that she was born because her mother was worried she might get a disease as she had been born on a train. Schooled abroad due to her father's job, she and her family returned to St. Petersburg in 1910, where she was enrolled in the prestigious Princess Obolensky Academy
Academy
An academy is an institution of higher learning, research, or honorary membership.The name traces back to Plato's school of philosophy, founded approximately 385 BC at Akademia, a sanctuary of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and skill, north of Athens, Greece. In the western world academia is the...

. In 1912, aged 15, she made what turned out to be a disastrous marriage with her first cousin, Boris de Hueck (1889–1947).

At the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Catherine de Hueck became a Red Cross nurse at the front, experiencing the horrors of battle firsthand. On her return to St. Petersburg, she and Boris barely escaped the turmoil of the Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

 with their lives, nearly starving to death as refugees in Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

. Together they made their way to England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, where Catherine was received into the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 on November 27, 1919.

Emigrating to Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 with Boris, Catherine gave birth to their only child, George, in Toronto in 1921. To make ends meet, she took
various jobs, eventually becoming a lecturer, travelling across North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

.

Friendship House

Prosperous now, but deeply dissatisfied with a life of material comfort, her marriage in ruins, Catherine began to feel the promptings of a deeper call through a passage that leaped to her eyes every time she opened the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

: "Arise — go... sell all you possess... take up your cross and follow Me." Consulting with various priests and the bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 of the diocese
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

, she began her lay apostolate among the poor in Toronto in the early 1930s, calling it Friendship House
Friendship House
Friendship House is a missionary movement founded in the early 1930s by Catholic social justice activist Catherine de Hueck Doherty, one of the leading proponents of interracial justice in pre-Martin Luther King, Jr...

.

Because her interracial approach was so different from what was being done at the time, she encountered much persecution
Persecution
Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group. The most common forms are religious persecution, ethnic persecution, and political persecution, though there is naturally some overlap between these terms. The inflicting of suffering, harassment, isolation,...

 and resistance, and Friendship House was forced to close in 1936. Catherine then went to Europe and spent a year investigating Catholic Action
Catholic Action
Catholic Action was the name of many groups of lay Catholics who were attempting to encourage a Catholic influence on society.They were especially active in the nineteenth century in historically Catholic countries that fell under anti-clerical regimes such as Spain, Italy, Bavaria, France, and...

. On her return, she was given the chance to revive Friendship House in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 among the poor in Harlem
Harlem
Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, which since the 1920s has been a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands...

. In time, more than a dozen Friendship Houses would be founded in North America.

In 1943, having received an annulment
Annulment
Annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void. Unlike divorce, it is usually retroactive, meaning that an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning almost as if it had never taken place...

 of her first marriage, as she had married her cousin, which is forbidden in the Church, she married Eddie Doherty
Eddie Doherty
Edward J. "Eddie" Doherty was a famed American newspaper reporter, best-selling author, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of the Madonna House Apostolate, and later ordained a priest in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church....

, one of America's foremost reporters, who had fallen in love with her while writing a story about her apostolate.

Madonna House

Serious disagreements arose between the staff of Friendship House and its foundress, particularly surrounding her marriage. When these could not be resolved, Catherine and Eddie moved to Combermere
Combermere, Ontario
Combermere is a village located along the Madawaska River in south-eastern Ontario, Canada. It is part of Township of Madawaska Valley.Combermere is best known as home to Madonna House, but the community hosts a farmer's market and also provides access to numerous lakes and rivers for cottagers and...

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, on May 17, 1947, naming their new rural apostolate Madonna House
Madonna House Apostolate
The Madonna House Apostolate is a Catholic Christian community of lay men, women, and priests dedicated to loving and serving Jesus Christ in all aspects of everyday life. It was founded in 1947 by Catherine Doherty in Combermere, Ontario and has established missionary field houses...

. This was to be the seedbed of an apostolate that, in the year 2000, numbered more than 200 staff workers and over 125 associate priests, deacons, and bishops, with 22 missionary field-houses throughout the world.

Death

Doherty died on December 14, 1985 in Combermere at the age of 89. Since then, the cause for Catherine's canonization
Canonization
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

 as a saint has been officially opened in the Catholic Church.

The Little Mandate

The core of Catherine Doherty's spirituality is summarized in a "distillation" of the Gospel which she called "The Little Mandate" — words which she believed she received from Jesus Christ
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 and which guided her life. It reads:
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 fear into the depth of men's hearts. I shall be with you.Pray always.
I will be your rest.


The spirituality expressed in The Little Mandate is also known as "the Madonna House
Madonna House Apostolate
The Madonna House Apostolate is a Catholic Christian community of lay men, women, and priests dedicated to loving and serving Jesus Christ in all aspects of everyday life. It was founded in 1947 by Catherine Doherty in Combermere, Ontario and has established missionary field houses...

 way of life."

The duty of the moment

A central theme in Catherine Doherty's spirituality is the duty of the moment. As she herself put it:
"The duty of the moment is what you should be doing at any given time, in whatever place God has put you. You may not have Christ in a homeless person at your door, but you may have a little child. If you have a child, your duty of the moment may be to change a dirty diaper. So you do it. But you don't just change that diaper, you change it to the best of your ability, with great love for both God and that child.... There are all kinds of good Catholic things you can do, but whatever they are, you have to realize that there is always the duty of the moment to be done. And it must be done, because the duty of the moment is the duty of God."

Poustinia

Catherine Doherty is perhaps best known for having introduced the concept of poustinia
Poustinia
A poustinia is a small sparsely furnished cabin or room where one goes to pray and fast alone in the presence of God. The word poustinia has its origin in the Russian word for desert...

 to Roman Catholicism through her best-selling book, Poustinia, first published in 1975. A poustinia is a small, sparsely furnished cabin or room where one goes to pray
Prayer in Christianity
Prayer has been an essential part of Christianity since its earliest days. Prayer is an integral element of the Christian faith and permeates all forms of Christian worship...

 and fast alone in the presence of God for 24 hours.

Notable awards

  • Cross of St. George
    Cross of St. George
    thumb|Original Cross of St. George.Ist and 2nd class were in gold.The Cross of St. George ', or simply the George's Cross, was, until 1913, officially known as the Sign of Distinction of the Military Order of St. George....

    , for bravery on the Russian Front
  • St. Anne Medal, for continuing in the line of duty under attack
  • Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice
    Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice
    The Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal is an award of the Roman Catholic Church. It is also known as the "Cross of Honour". The medal was established by Leo XIII on July 17, 1888, to commemorate his golden sacerdotal jubilee and was originally bestowed on those women and men who had aided and...

    , Papal Decoration Medal, awarded by Pope John XXIII
    Pope John XXIII
    -Papal election:Following the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Roncalli was elected Pope, to his great surprise. He had even arrived in the Vatican with a return train ticket to Venice. Many had considered Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, a possible candidate, but, although archbishop...

     for "exceptional and outstanding work for the Church and for the Pope", 1960
  • Member of the Order of Canada
    Order of Canada
    The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

    , "for a lifetime of devoted services to the underprivileged of many nationalities, both in Canada and abroad", 1976. In July 2008, the Madonna House Apostolate
    Madonna House Apostolate
    The Madonna House Apostolate is a Catholic Christian community of lay men, women, and priests dedicated to loving and serving Jesus Christ in all aspects of everyday life. It was founded in 1947 by Catherine Doherty in Combermere, Ontario and has established missionary field houses...

     returned Doherty's Order of Canada insignia to Rideau Hall
    Rideau Hall
    Rideau Hall is, since 1867, the official residence in Ottawa of both the Canadian monarch and the Governor General of Canada. It stands in Canada's capital on a 0.36 km2 estate at 1 Sussex Drive, with the main building consisting of 170 rooms across 9,500 m2 , and 24 outbuildings around the...

     as a symbolic gesture of protest over the induction of Henry Morgentaler
    Henry Morgentaler
    Henry Morgentaler, CM is a Canadian physician and prominent pro-choice advocate who has fought numerous legal battles for that cause.-Early life:...

     into the order.
  • Dame of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem
    Venerable Order of Saint John
    The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem , is a royal order of chivalry established in 1831 and found today throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, Hong Kong, Ireland and the United States of America, with the world-wide mission "to prevent and relieve sickness and...

  • Jules Favre
    Jules Favre
    Jules Claude Gabriel Favre was a French statesman. After the establishment of the Third Republic in September 1870, he became one of the leaders of the Opportunist Republicans faction.- Early life :...

     Foundation Award, Académie française
    Académie française
    L'Académie française , also called the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution,...

  • Woman of the Year, World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations, Rome
  • International Mark Twain
    Mark Twain
    Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

     Society
  • Poverello Medal, Franciscan University of Steubenville
    Franciscan University of Steubenville
    Franciscan University of Steubenville is a Catholic institution located in Steubenville, Ohio, west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The school was founded in 1946 by the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular. In 1974, Fr...


Her cause for canonization

Doherty's cause for canonization
Canonization
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

 as a saint was opened by Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 in 2000, and she has been given the official title Servant of God
Servant of God
Servant of God is a title given to individuals by various religions, but in general the phrase is used to describe a person believed to be pious in his or her faith tradition. In the Catholic Church, it designates someone who is being investigated by the Church for possibly being recognized as a...

 — the first step on the way to being declared Venerable
Venerable
The Venerable is used as a style or epithet in several Christian churches. It is also the common English-language translation of a number of Buddhist titles.-Roman Catholic:...

, then Blessed
Beatification
Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name . Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process...

, and finally Saint. At the current stage in the process, a diocesan tribunal, as well as a historical commission, are examining Catherine's life and writings under the supervision of the Bishop of the Diocese of Pembroke
Pembroke, Ontario
Pembroke is a city in the province of Ontario, Canada, at the confluence of the Muskrat River and the Ottawa River in the Ottawa Valley...

. Her file in the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 is titled (in English) "Pembroke: Cause of the Beatification and Canonization of Servant of God Catherine de Hueck Doherty, lay faithful and foundress of the Apostolate called 'Madonna House'."

See also

  • Madonna House Apostolate
    Madonna House Apostolate
    The Madonna House Apostolate is a Catholic Christian community of lay men, women, and priests dedicated to loving and serving Jesus Christ in all aspects of everyday life. It was founded in 1947 by Catherine Doherty in Combermere, Ontario and has established missionary field houses...

  • Friendship House
    Friendship House
    Friendship House is a missionary movement founded in the early 1930s by Catholic social justice activist Catherine de Hueck Doherty, one of the leading proponents of interracial justice in pre-Martin Luther King, Jr...

  • Eddie Doherty
    Eddie Doherty
    Edward J. "Eddie" Doherty was a famed American newspaper reporter, best-selling author, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of the Madonna House Apostolate, and later ordained a priest in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church....

  • Our Lady of Combermere
    Our Lady of Combermere
    Our Lady of Combermere is a religious title given within Roman Catholicism to the Blessed Virgin, Mary, the mother of Jesus.The same name also refers to a statue of Mary erected in 1960 in the village of Combermere in Ontario, Canada.-Origin:...

  • Restoration (newspaper)
    Restoration (newspaper)
    Restoration is a Canadian English language Catholic newspaper based in Combermere, Ontario, and circulated internationally. It was founded in 1947 by the famed American newspaperman Eddie Doherty and his wife, social justice activist Catherine Doherty....

  • Poustinia
    Poustinia
    A poustinia is a small sparsely furnished cabin or room where one goes to pray and fast alone in the presence of God. The word poustinia has its origin in the Russian word for desert...

  • Hermit
    Hermit
    A hermit is a person who lives, to some degree, in seclusion from society.In Christianity, the term was originally applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament .In the...

  • Eastern Catholic Church

External links

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