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Orbis Books

Doherty, Catherine: Catherine De Hueck Doherty

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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.