20131104 Success through failure 失敗乃成功之母

Catherine de Hueck Doherty was born in Russia on Aug. 15, 1896. At the age of 15, Catherine married Boris de Hueck. During the Russian Revolution, many of her family members were killed. After narrowly escaping death, Catherine and Boris became refugees and came to Canada in 1921. Their son George was born the same year in Toronto.
Catherine worked hard to support her ailing husband and child, but after years of painful struggle, her marriage to Boris fell apart. Eventually Catherine’s marriage with Boris was annulled by the Church in 1943.
Very talented in public speaking, Catherine soon became a successful lecturer. However the words of Christ pursued her relentlessly: “Sell all you possess, and come, follow Me.”
On Oct. 15, 1930, Catherine made the decision to give her life to Jesus. She marked this as the day of the beginning of her apostolate. Catherine sold all her possessions and provided for her son. She started to live in the slums of Toronto, and began her lay apostolate among the poor.

Friendship House
Young men and women came to join Catherine. She established Friendship House, and lived the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi. It was the time of the Great Depression. Members of Friendship House offered hospitality and provided material assistants to the poor.
They also combatted the tide of communism through lectures, discussions, and the distribution of “The Social Forum” newspaper, based on the social encyclicals of the Church.
False but persistent rumours about her and the Friendship House forced its closure by churchmen in 1936. During the Christmas season in 1936, Catherine was tempted to suicide. However, she heard the voice of Christ beckoning her to share His suffering.
Catherine left Toronto, and was invited by a priest to open a Friendship House in Harlem. Catherine accepted the invitation in 1938. In 1943, after obtaining the annulment of her first marriage, Catherine married a widower, Eddie Doherty, a journalist who had fallen in love with her while writing a story about her apostolate.
The Friendship House in Harlem also ended in failure. Divisions developed among the staff, and in January 1947 they out-voted Catherine on points she considered essential to the apostolate. Seeing this as a rejection of her vision of Friendship House, she stepped down as Director General.

Madonna House
Shattered by the ordeal of Friendship House, Catherine came to Combermere, Ont., with Eddie on May 17, 1947, intending to retire. However, as Catherine was recovering from the trauma, she began to serve those in need in the Combermere area.
She and Eddie established a newspaper, “Restoration,” and a training centre for the lay apostolate. Again young men and women asked to join her.
On April 7, 1954, those living in Combermere voted to embrace a permanent vocation with promises of poverty, chastity and obedience, and the community of Madonna House was established.
The next year, Catherine and Eddie made a promise of chastity and lived celibate lives thereafter. On Aug. 15, 1969, Eddie was ordained a Catholic priest in the Melkite rite at the age of 78.
The spirit of the Madonna House is that of a family, modelled on the Holy Family of Nazareth, which was a community of perfect charity and love. Members of Madonna House are involved in theology, philosophy, special programs, publication, science, fine arts, drama, farming, carpentry, cooking, and laundry.
Catherine said, “Nothing is foreign to the apostolate, except sin…. The primary work of the apostolate is to love one another.”
Catherine died on Dec. 14, 1985, after a long illness. She left behind a spiritual family of more than 200 members, and foundations around the world.

1896年8月15日,嘉琳.曉格.杜克提出生於俄國,年僅十五歲嫁予玻肋.曉格。俄國革命爆發,嘉琳家人遭受殺戮,她本人和曉格僥倖逃出生天,1921年以難民身份到了加拿大,同年在多倫多誕下兒子喬治。

 

嘉琳努力工作,設法支持及照顧患病的丈夫,可惜,婚姻最終破裂。在1943年教會當局判斷他們的婚姻無效。

 

嘉琳是天賦的演說家,所以很快便成為成功的講師;然而,耶穌的說話不斷在她內心鏗鏘著:「變賣你所有的一切,來跟隨我!」

 

1930年10月15日嘉琳決定把自己奉獻給耶穌,並設定此日是她傳教使命的開始。她變賣財產,然後到多倫多貧民區,在貧民間渡俗使徒的生活。

 

「友誼居」

 

由於眾多的年青男女慕名到來幫助嘉琳,她遂組織了「友誼居」,一起渡聖五傷方濟各的靈修生活。剛巧遇上世界經濟大衰退,「友誼居」接待了不少貧窮人士,提供他們所需物質;為反擊共產主義,他們舉行講座、研討,又按教會發出有關社會問題的通諭,出版「社會論壇」報刊。

 

不幸地,持續對嘉琳的中傷,1938年被教會人士下令關閉「友誼居」,她深感委屈,竟然在節日氣氛正濃的聖誕期,萌生自殺的念頭,卻又深深感受到苦架上耶穌的召叫而重獲勇氣。

 

離開多倫多後,嘉琳接受一位神父的邀請,在哈林地區重辦「友誼居」。1943年,教會正式宣告嘉琳第一次的婚姻無效,她後來下嫁記者艾迪.杜克提,他早在訪問嘉琳的福傳工作時認識她。

 

哈林地區設辦的「友誼居」亦不見順利,內部出現分列矛盾;1947年1月,經過大多數投票下,推翻嘉琳一項關鍵的福傳意念,嘉琳便辭去「友誼居」總監一職。

 

「聖母家」

 

嘉琳的抱負一再觸礁,便偕同丈夫於1947年5月17日艾迪於到加拿大安大略省的康布伯爾退休。不過,當嘉琳從傷痛恢復過來後,她又活躍地在康布伯爾照顧貧乏的人。她和艾迪創辦「整修報」,又設立中心,培訓平信徒進行福傳。再一次,眾多的年青人要求加入嘉琳的事奉行列,於1954年4月7日,投票決定以神貧、貞潔、聽命三個許諾作終生奉獻,正式成立「聖母家」。翌年,嘉琳和丈夫艾迪協定,雙方渡貞潔獨身生活並作貞潔的許諾。1969年8月15日,艾迪以天主教麥爾基特東方禮儀,晉升鐸品,年屆七十八。

 

「聖母家」儼如一個大家庭,以聖家為榜樣,締造貞潔友愛的團體,成員從事神學、哲學、科學、培訓活動、出版、藝術、戲劇、種植、木工、烹飪和洗熨等。嘉琳說:「對福傳來說,任何工作都不陌生,除了犯罪。使徒工作中最主要的就是相親相愛。」

 

經歷長時間患病,嘉琳在1985年12月14日逝世,當時她的靈修家庭,擁有兩百之眾,並廣佈世界。

 

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