A decade later I was immersed in the writings of Thomas Merton and William Johnston.
In reading of Thomas Merton as he sought to find a way to give expression to his God-given vocation, I recall coming across the story of Merton's friendship with Dorothy Day. One night, in need of a bed, he put up at Dorothy Day's place. However, Merton drew the short straw. He had to sleep in Dorothy Day's bath tub because the only spare sleeping pace was occupied by Catherine De Hueck Doherty.
The story of Sue Gordon Woods is quite remarkable. She flew to Canada and met Catherine Doherty and experienced her spirituality at Madonna House. This part of her story impresses me. There was, it would seem, a clear sense of direction in the life of Sue at a young age. Sue's story can be read in the Waterhole of Hope. Here is the story of The House of Prayer - a community that was established in the old orphanage. At The House of Prayer, the community built a poustinia in the garden.
Fast forward from my Goulburn trip to 2009 and I am living in Melbourne. I am a Quaker as well as an Anglican. Many Quakers in Australia had longed for a study centre such as Woodbrooke in Britain and Pendle Hill in the USA. Eventually, the centre became a reality at Silver Wattle, near Bungendore in NSW which is only 45 minutes from the national capital, Canberra.
Silver Wattle is the result of much dedication, hard work, and sacrifice from a small number of Friends. I was the first cook at Silver Wattle. The property belonged to the Catholic Church and had been inhabited by members of the House of Prayer community who were formerly at Goulburn. Waterhole of Hope describes the difficulties that came upon the House of Prayer communities in later times at Goulburn. The move to the property at Silver Wattle was planned as a transition as members of the community 'transitioned' from what once was. As Quakers moved in, there were still members of the community residing at Silver Wattle.
I didn't know any of the House of Prayer connections until I was at Silver Wattle, met the remaining residents, and found Waterhole of Hope on the bookshelf. And I had heard, rather vaguely, from other sources of what became of Sue Gordon Woods. It is good to know that Sue's life goes on with a strong spirituality. Her story continues at Campfire in the Heart near Alice Springs.