His Mercy: About Our Apostolate

  Our Lady of the Woods Chapel

About Our Lady of His Mercy Apostolate / His Mercy Ministries Inc.


Living as God's Family in the home of His Heart...
Our primary goal is to offer and witness God's love in the market place and to build and sustain a real home on the street, in His Heart, for "the homeless of the heart".


We are out-reach missionaries serving on the street in storefront drop-in centers in the marketplaces of Ottawa and Vanier in Canada and Beirut, Lebanon. Responding to the mandate of serving Christ in the poor, we are a Catholic Lay Apostolate doing the various works of mercy in our neighbourhoods. Simply, we are called to be a presence of Christ's Church on the street.

Situated in neighbourhoods of the poor, our daily service entails the corporal and spiritual works of mercy offered to anyone who comes through our doors, recognizing THE MASTER in the guise of His poor. Our volunteers are not professional care-givers. They are caring and concerned persons of faith committed to making a difference in the lives of those who live among us as disadvantaged and marginalized. They freely give of themselves offering their time, resources and compassion to befriend those who come to them seeking assistance. In preparing our daily meal, serving a cup of coffee, sitting and listening to someone or praying with them, our team of volunteers provide genuine, consistent and on-going, daily support. His Mercy friendship centers are modeled after the spirit of Catherine Doherty's "Friendship House Apostolate". Without formal government or Church funding, we rely entirely on The Lord's Providence.


  • We are a ministry of availability and listening, of hospitality and friendship, of consistency and personal commitment to the poor. We are not professional counselors. We are men and women dedicated to living the Gospel challenge to serve our neighbours in concrete ways - in active love, as instruments of His Mercy...

  • We serve a full meal everyday during the week.

  • We offer seasonal clothing, emergency food vouchers and essential items with the aid of The St.Vincent de Paul Society and our neighbourhood parishes.

  • We have two scheduled times for prayer during the day when we invite others to join us in praying for our daily needs. We pray the rosary before lunch and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3pm. We are open from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Friday.

  • We work in co-operation with other organizations and programs including professional care agencies, interdenominational churches and 12 step groups in order to meet an individuals specific needs for support, healing, recovery and personal growth.

  • We are involved in organizing spiritual conferences and retreats that bring gifted speakers from around the world to teach, encourage and councel.

  • Benefactors and volunteers co-host "Our Lady's Grotto COFFEE HOUSE" with Holy Rosary Parish at month's end, which is an evening of good food and fun, home-grown talent and Christian fellowship.

     Some of our special out-reach programs during the year include;

  • "GIFTS OF THE MAGI", a city-wide annual Christmas program, that locates and offers a personalized present to those persons who spend Christmas alone and promotes the true spirit of Christmas in the city.

  • "RELIEF FOR HONDURAS" and "PRAYER VIGIL FOR PEACE", emergency relief campaigns for supplies and prayer. A container of food and clothing was gathered and shipped to Honduras from our center in Vanier and a Prayer Vigil for Peace and Justice on Ottawa's Parliament Hill, was recently organized for Christians, Moslems and Jews to gather together in mutual respect and faith to pray for an end to the on-going violence and conflict in The Middle East.


The Spiritual Works of Mercy

The Corporal Works of Mercy

1.Witness & Counsel the doubtful

1. Feed the hungry

2. Instruct the ignorant

2. Give drink to the thirsty

3. Admonish the sinner

3. Clothe the naked

4. Comfort the sorrowful

4. Shelter the homeless

5. Forgive injuries

5. Visit the sick

6. Bear wrongs patiently

6. Visit the imprisoned

7. Pray for the living and the dead

7. Bury the dead


"Be witnesses of mercy. Today you must be above all a great and extraordinary sign of divine mercy. Let your heart be similar to that of Jesus: good, patient, meek, humble and merciful. You will always then give the light of divine love and you will lead all along the road of salvation...The miracle of the merciful love of Jesus is about to be accomplished in your time. In this consists the triumph of my Immaculate Heart: in the greatest triumph of the merciful love of Jesus, which will change the whole world and bring you to a new era of love, of holiness and of peace."

    Here is an article about us which appeared in Our Sunday Visitor in 1997:   


The Word on the Street
Part chapel, part living room, Fredrick Schubert's 'friendship houses' bring the Gospel to the gutters of Ottawa

     Fredrick Schubert first met Anna three years ago, when she walked into Schubert's Catholic "friendship house and drop-in center" called Our Lady of His Mercy, and announced she was a witch.
     "I think she hoped to shock me" Schubert said of the encounter. "But I just reached over for two cups and said, 'Oh really, I have never met a witch. Let's sit down and talk about it' "
     Anna, who has since left her life as a prostitute, is now seeking baptism in the Church for herself and her two children, joining the growing crowd of people who entered Schubert's storefront haven looking for one thing and walked out instead with Jesus Christ.
     Evangelization, according to Schubert, consists in large part of "the constant myriad of little things done well for love of God and love of neighbor."
     Schubert should know. Over the past five years, he has taken this approach to evangelization in two poor neighborhoods of Ottawa, making a space where Anna and those like her can experience, hands-on, God's kingdom.
     "We really exist to bring the message of the Divine Merry - who Jesus is - to those who need to hear it the most," Schubert told Our Sunday Visitor. "We exist to show the people in these places - the most marginalized, the most socially stigmatized - that Jesus loves them, the Church loves them and we love them as well. Our message is the Gospel we live among them."
     Newcomers to Schubert's two Our Lady of His Mercy centers, which are really just storefronts on shabby streets, often have a hard time at first comprehending just what sort of places these are.
     Clean, yet cluttered with the most amazing collection of Catholic devotional and educational materials, the Wellington Street center, on Ottawa's West side, stands out among the other businesses like a down in a line of bankers.
     But inside, the curious atmosphere of living room and chapel invites even world-weary reporters to sit down, relax and study the shrines to Mary, Joseph and the Divine Mercy that take up three of the four walls.
     "Some people just come in and want something to eat," Schubert explained, "and so we fill that need and perform that corporal work of mercy. But whether they come in at first for soup or coffee or conversation, they get it under the eyes of Our Lady. And many, eventually, begin to ask questions."
     Schubert, a convert from the Lutheran church who lives somewhat precariously in a small apartment above the west-side center, felt called to open the centers after working and living with the Madonna House community, founded by the indefatigable Catholic and Russian émigré, Catherine de Hueck Doherty.
     "The centers are really a continuation of her work in the friendship-house apostolate, which she began in the 1920s," Schubert said. "It was really her vision for a lay-run, direct-access apostolate, situated right on the street, where people who need it most can most easily find it".
     Doherty's work and his experience at Madonna House inspired him to invest his centers with something he calls "Nazareth spirituality," which he defines as an emphasis on poverty, simplicity, ordinariness and hiddenness.
     "We live in the neighborhood like the Holy Family lived in Nazareth - hidden, ordinary and very much a part of the street life in front of the center, but crucially removed from it as well," he said.
     Schubert's approach has yielded striking results, though he is quick to credit the Holy Spirit, more than his own efforts, for the lives he has helped remarkably change.
     "We just make the space on the street and in our lives," Schubert said. "The Holy Spirit decides how He wants to fill the space."
     In addition to Anna, Schubert speaks with affection about Robert, a young man once so addicted to crack cocaine that three times he was declared dead on emergency-room gurneys, only to be revived again. Now, Robert is a graduate with the equivalent of an associate's degree in engineering and has a steady job.
     "God has a way of bringing us the people who need to here," Schubert said. In addition to distributing food, offering space to Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step groups arid providing essential hospitality, the Our Lady of His Mercy centers give people a place to pray.
     Schubert schedules prayers twice a day, including the Divine Mercy chaplet every day at 3 p.m. A schoolroom chalkboard takes up part of one wall, a place where visitors can leave their prayer requests.
     "The prayer times here are really the most extraordinary," Schubert said. "Praying here is the first time that some of these people have ever prayed in public - and the first time they have ever opened themselves to the possibility that perhaps someone listens to their prayer."
     And as if all this weren't enough, Schubert and his codirector, Bill McEachern, don't even have to beg for the roughly $2,000 per month it takes to keep it all going, getting no money from either the diocese or the city of Ottawa.
     "Our Lady of His Mercy centers are entirely fumed by God and His providence," Schubert said, "Everyday we pray for our daily bread and mean it in a very tangible and intimate way. And everyday, in some way, God has provided. Even if it's the $300 I need slipped under the door the night before I had to have it."
     If there is anything Schubert tends to lack, its patience, particularly for a Church which, he said, has "become spiritually poor" even as it has grown materially more prosperous.
     "This really isn't hard to do," he said, waving his arm expansively to take in the small room and kitchen. "Every parish in North America could do it for a pittance and, if we did, we would see the biggest Catholic revolution the world has ever seen."
     "Really, people at the margins don't need a whole lot. Most of our work here consists of being big brothers and sisters to them and bringing along big hearts. They just want to be listened to. Here, we listen people into existence."

Morrison writes from Arlington, Va.
For more information, contact:
Our Lady of His Mercy,
1071 Wellington St. West,
Ottawa, Ontario, CAN K1Y 2Y2


cheque donations can be made to:

'Holy Rosary Parish/His Mercy'
1071 Wellington Street West
Ottawa, Ontario K1Y2Y2