3 stories to inspire you while you’re stuck at home

  • Written by Northwest Catholic
  • Published in Local
Photo: Tari Gunstone Photo: Tari Gunstone

As the COVID-19 outbreak has confined many of us to our homes, we may need to find new ways to practice our faith on a smaller scale. Here are three stories of local Catholics from the Northwest Catholic archives to provide some inspiration.


Ora et labora

The small community of contemplative Benedictine nuns living in the remote sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rock monastery on Shaw Island consider themselves missionaries in the Pacific Northwest through the example of their simple lifestyle and devotion to God, which revolves around the rhythm of work and prayer.

Although they live a rural lifestyle, the “mothers” embrace using technology as an extension of their missionary work. The monastery has a website and Mother Hildegard writes a blog, Island Life- in a monastery, about modern Catholic artists, saints and her impressions of life on Shaw Island. Read more.


Building a domestic church

Photo: Stephen Brashear

Even before entering Keith and Heather Mack’s Oak Harbor home, you know you’re walking into a sacred space. Maybe you didn’t notice the statues of St. Francis and the Virgin Mary in the yard, but you can’t miss the large and ornate crucifix through the front-door window.

Inside, nearly every surface is covered with Catholic imagery — a Holy Family icon in the staircase, a smorgasbord of saints over the desk, Pope Francis on the fridge — intermingled with family photos and paintings of flowers, birds and monsters by their six kids.

The mix of images is an apt illustration of the Macks’ effort to weave their faith into the fabric of their day-to-day family life — to truly be a domestic church. What does that mean? Read more.


A pilgrimage in his own backyard

Photo: Stephen Brashear

Phil Volker was captivated by the Camino de Santiago, or “Way of St. James,” the ancient pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, where tradition holds that one of Jesus’ apostles, St. James the Greater, is buried.

A Stage 4 cancer diagnosis, however, meant he had no hope of ever going to Spain to experience it. But decades of living on Vashon Island, just a little bit removed from civilization, had bred in Volker a knack for do-it-yourself, “homegrown” solutions, so he did the next best thing: He made a Camino of his own and started walking.

He laid out a trail around his property that measured 0.88 kilometer, just over half a mile. He calculated that he would need to make 909 laps to walk the equivalent of the roughly 800 kilometers from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, to Santiago de Compostela — the popular route known as the Camino Francés, or “French Way.” Read more.