Mary Davis


(1933 – 2024)

Mary Davis, pioneer staff worker of Madonna House, died peacefully on Wednesday, March 20, in the cabin where she had lived for many years, continuously accompanied by various members of her spiritual family. Mary had been living under Promises in Madonna House for nearly 70 years.

Born in Peabody, MA, on November 13, 1933, she moved to Quebec with her family in 1949. When Catherine Doherty, the foundress of Madonna House, lectured in Quebec in 1950, some of Mary’s teachers heard the talk, and one arranged for a scholarship for Mary and another girl to come to the Summer School of Catholic Action the following summer. She returned to the Summer School the following year, and in 1953, came to stay.

Although Mary spent most of her life in Combermere, caring for the gardens, she was often assigned to one of the MH mission houses during the winter, including St. Joseph House in Combermere; Marian Centre, Edmonton; La Casa de Nuestra Senora, AZ; Robin Hood’s Bay, England.

She accompanied the foundress to the 3rd International Congress of the Laity in Rome in 1967, and after privately studying Russian, made a pilgrimage to that country in 1968, accompanied by another staff member.

In 1970, she was assigned to be one of the staff members pioneering Madonna House Israel, and remained there until the departure of Archbishop Joseph Raya and consequent closing of that house. When the Archbishop retired to Combermere, Mary spent many evening hours, as well as hours of any free time she might have, typing the manuscripts for his books.

Mary was a woman of many interests, but one highly developed interest was in wool sheared from Madonna House sheep. She learned carding, spinning, weaving, and even the art of knotting Persian-style rugs.

A great love of Mary’s was in passing on to younger members and guests the joys of gardening and of wool work, and she led holiday camping/canoeing trips to Algonquin Park for a number of years, usually accompanied by the current Madonna House dog, with Bailey as her faithful companion in recent years.

Mary is predeceased by her parents, Charles W. and Margaret D. (McLean), and by her brother, Charles. She is survived by her sister-in-law, Nancy, her nephew, Chip (Rachel), and nieces, Cathy and Meredith.

Viewing of the body will be held at St. Mary’s Chapel of Madonna House from 2 to 4 pm and 7 to 9 pm on Tuesday, April 2, with a Wake Service at 8 pm. The funeral Mass will take place the following morning at 11 am in St. Mary’s Chapel, with interment following in Canadian Martyrs Parish cemetery. A reception will follow the Mass and burial.

Madonna House is deeply grateful to Dr. Meeking and her secretary, Rosa; the Bayshore Nurses and Occupational Therapist; Dr. Colette Szalay; and many others who allowed them to care for Mary in the way she desired.