If you can be poor, you will always be rich.

It really doesn't take all that much to make kids happy. A lot of stories about memorable shinny hockey games have been circulating this past week as Hockey Day in Canada reaches its climax in Whitehorse this Saturday.

It really doesn’t take all that much to make kids happy. A lot of stories about memorable shinny hockey games have been circulating this past week as Hockey Day in Canada reaches its climax in Whitehorse this Saturday.

Given a local pond or flooded back yard patch of almost any dimension of skatable ice, makeshift equipment like rolled up magazines for padding and a few buddies meant endless hours of fun for a lot of folk.

How many other times like these can you recall where it didn’t take much to truly enjoy life? Spending many hours over a jigsaw puzzle or a game of cards with family and friends certainly make it into my personal mental memory album. All of us surely have our own favourite recollections of simply appreciating the company of others over a game of some sort, or just a cup of tea.

These experiences offer us a glimmer of an understanding of the profound insights people from the Christian ascetics to Gandhi and Henry David Thoreau to Tibetan Buddhist monks have had for literally millennia.

Voluntary simplicity, simple living, voluntary poverty or whatever you wish to call it offers what many have believed to be a path towards connecting more deeply with the core and substance of what it means to be human. At the same time it provided a way to be more positively present to one another and the Earth.

The rampant, accelerating consumerism of the last half century has threatened to push this idea to the fringe of our society. It certainly wasn’t always this way.

Growing up I was educated by religious women and men who took vows of poverty. I saw Amish farmers and their families in their plain, utilitarian garb when they came to the city. Later I would get to know a wide variety of practitioners of voluntary poverty from ‘back-to-the-land’ movement to urban gleaners. They all seemed to understand the basic truism; if you can be poor, you will always be rich.

The conscious choice of voluntary simplicity often has spiritual roots but could stem as well from a wide variety of sources from environmentalism to the pursuit of health and emotional well-being. Social Justice concerns motivated others to attempt to disengage as much as possible from a destructive global system and bring their egalitarian values into line with their lifestyles. From whatever perspective it strongly suggests that another world is possible.

In Whitehorse we have been privileged to have a very visible witness to this alternative among us. Maryhouse has been here since 1954 at the corner of 6th and Cook Street. This longtime community resource is a branch of the Madonna House Apostolate headquartered in Combermere, Ontario. This community of Christian lay men, women, and priests (www.madonnahouse.org) take a vow of poverty along with vows of chastity and obedience.

When asked what Madonna House was, Catherine Doherty, who founded the apostolate in 1947, said that it “is a very simple thing. It is an open door. It is a cup of tea or coffee, good and hot. It is an invitation to work for the common good. Madonna House is a house of hospitality. It is a place where people are received, not on their education, not on how wonderful they are as painters, or whatever they have to do; they are received simply as people. They are loved.”

A farewell tea for Kate O’Donnell will take place on Sunday, February 13th from 2 to 5 p.m. at Maryhouse at the corner of 6th and Cook Street. After 11 years of service to our community she is being transferred back to Madonna House in Combermere.

Michael Dougherty is co-chair of the social justice committee of Sacred Heart Cathedral of Whitehorse. Contact pazypan@yukon.net.

Just Posted

Northwestel says it is investigating into the cause of the total communications blackout throughout the territory after a power failure in Whitehorse on Wednesday night.
Internet outage prompts criticism on Dempster fibre project delays

The Liberals responded that they have proceeded cautiously to avoid high costs.

A motorcycle with driver pulled over on the right side of the North Klondike Highway whose speed was locked in at 171 kilometres per hour. (Courtesy/Yukon RCMP)
Patrols of Yukon highways find poorly-secured loads, intoxicated drivers

The ongoing patrols which police call ‘Operation Cooridor’ is mainly focused on commercial vehicles.

Awaken Festival organizers Meredith Pritchard, Colin Wolf, Martin Nishikawa inside the Old Firehall in Whitehorse on May 11. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Performing arts fest plans to awaken artistic talent in Whitehorse and the rural North

‘A value of ours is to make theatre as accessible as possible.’

April Mikkelsen tosses a disc during a ladies only disc golf tournament at Solstice DiscGolfPark on May 8. John Tonin/Yukon News
Yukon sees its first-ever women’s disc golf tournament

The Professional Disc Golf Assocation had a global women’s event last weekend. In the Yukon, a women’s only tournament was held for the first time ever.

Dave Blottner, executive director at the Whitehorse Food Bank, said the food bank upped its services because of the pandemic. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Food Bank sees Yukoners’ generosity firsthand

“Businesses didn’t know if they could stay open but they were calling us to make sure we were able to stay open.”

More than 25,000 people have received the firsdt dose of the vaccine, according to the Yukon government. (Black Press file)
Yukon has now vaccinated 76 per cent of eligible adults

The territory has surpassed its goal of 75 per cent as a first step toward ‘herd immunity’

A prescribed burn is seen from the lookout at Range Road and Whistle Bend Way in Whitehorse May 12. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Editorial: Are you ready for a forest fire?

Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse have listed some steps for Yukoners to boost safety and awareness

Caribou pass through the Dempster Highway area in their annual migration. A recent decision by the privacy commissioner has recommended the release of some caribou collar re-location data. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News)
Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

Department of Environment says consultation with its partners needed before it will consider release

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Most Read