Order of Canada to be Returned Publicly Tuesday

    Peaceful Visit to Rideau Hall For Group Representing Madonna House
    Founder, Catherine Doherty

    OTTAWA, July 7 /CNW/ - Representatives from Madonna House, a Catholic
community based in Combermere, Ontario, will make the journey to Ottawa
Tuesday morning to return the Order of Canada medal awarded to founder,
Catherine Doherty.
    The move is in response to the awarding of one of Canada's highest
honours to Dr. Henry Morgentaler, as announced by the Governor General's
Office on July 1, 2008.
    Catherine Doherty (August 15, 1896 - December 14, 1985) was a pioneer of
social justice and an internationally acclaimed speaker. In addition to
founding the community of Madonna House, she was a prolific writer and
best-selling author of dozens of books. She was awarded the Order of Canada in
1976 in recognition of "a lifetime of devoted services to the underprivileged
of many nationalities, both in Canada and abroad." Her cause for canonization
as a saint was opened by Bishop Brendan O'Brien, then bishop of the diocese of
Pembroke, Ontario, in 2000.
    Fr. David May, one of the three directors of Madonna House, commented on
the decision to return the medal to the Governor General:

    "Catherine Doherty was honoured to receive this award in 1976. She
exemplified what the Order of Canada should be about: an individual committed
to strengthening the nation by her contribution to the vulnerable and the
marginalized. It is only after much prayer and consultation with our
community, as well as with heavy hearts, that we are undertaking this action.
The Order has been devalued in recent days, and we are confident that
Catherine is spiritually present with us, affirming this gesture of love for
our country and for the values which alone can sustain it. Without absolute
respect for the gift of life, no society can survive."

    Members of the Madonna House community will gather at the entrance to
Rideau Hall (1 Sussex Drive - Princess Gate) to present in a symbolic gesture
a letter to the Governor General, and will return the Order of Canada pin on
Tuesday, July 8, 2008, at 11 a.m. Media are invited to attend, and
representatives of the community will be available for interviews following
the return of the medal.
    Madonna House, founded in 1947 by Catherine Doherty and her husband,
Eddie, is a community of more than 200 laymen, women, and priests dedicated to
loving and serving Christ through promises of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Each of the community's missions has a distinct mandate, from offering soup
kitchens to places of retreat. All operate in a spirit of prayer, openness,
and fellowship. In addition to the original community in Combermere, Ontario,
there are 18 field houses (missions) in seven countries around the world.
    Additional resources on the life of Catherine Doherty and the Madonna
House Apostolate can be found by visiting: www.madonnahouse.org or

For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Susanne Stubbs or Larry Klein,
Madonna House, (613) 756-3713, combermere@madonnahouse.org

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