Catherine de Hueck Doherty (1896-1985), a Russian-born aristocrat who has recently been proposed for canonization, emigrated to North America where she dedicated her life to spiritual renewal and what she called "the gospel without compromise." Like her friend Dorothy Day, she found in Christ a spiritual path that joined love of God and neighbor. One of her early projects was the Harlem-based Friendship House, which attracted a young Thomas Merton.
Later, with her husband, Eddie Doherty, she established Madonna House in Combermere, Ontario, a lay community that strives to emulate the spirit of the Holy Family. Though Roman Catholic, Catherine drew on her Russian roots and helped popularize the concept of Poustinia (the Russian word for desert)--a place where a person meets God through solitude, prayer, and fasting.
These writings, drawn from twenty-five books, highlight her distinctive spiritual message, with its emphasis on the presence of God, the practice of prayer, a love for the church, and a dedication to the social dimensions of the gospel.
Fr. David Vincent Meconi, S.J., is editor of Homiletic & Pastoral Review. He is a professor of patristic theology at St. Louis University where he teaches courses on Trinitarian theology, Christology and soteriology in the early Church, with a special interest in the life and thought of St. Augustine of Hippo. He is also the co-editor of the Cambridge University Companion to Augustine.
This is a deeply profound overview of the life and spirituality of Catherine de Hueck Doherty. The excerpts from her writings, meditations and letters, along with Fr. Meconi's insights, help the reader to understand the mystical dimensions of this extraordinary woman.
- Lorene Hanley Duquin, author, They Called Her the Baroness.