Karen House Catholic Worker
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1840 Hogan St.
Saint Louis, MO 63106
Why This Issue:
Although it's over six months after Ann Manganaro's death, I still find it hard to believe that she is gone from us. Maybe it's because I've grown use to her long absences from St. Louis while working in El Salvador. Maybe it's because of her picture on our refrigerator or a note she wrote that I glued in the back of my Bible. Maybe it's because she is still regularly remembered in conversation, "Ann said this...." "Ann did that.... Maybe it's because I can remember her love. I think there is something eternal in the love Ann had for us. We're going to remember Ann in this issue of the Round Table.
We've asked three people for offerings of a bit larger scale: John Kavanaugh, SJ, one of Ann's closest friends, is allowing us to publish the homily he gave at Ann's funeral Mass. Mev Puleo, a friend of the Catholic Worker and photojournalist, interviewed Ann at length in January '93 in El Salvador. Besides allowing us to reprint this article, Mev is allowing us to use many of the photographs she took of Ann during this trip. Ellen Rehg, a dear friend of Ann's and fellow Karen House community member, offers a reflection about Ann's friendship because "it is mostly as a friend that we remember and love her."
Following this, we asked a number of people - community members from tile Sisters of Loretto and Karen House, fellow doctors, dear friends, co-workers with the Jesuit Refugee Services, and a young teenager whom Ann knew and loved - to write a brief impression, experience or incident that revealed a facet of who Ann was for them. Our "From Latin America" section touches on Ann's life in El Salvador because we're reprinting parts of reports published there in the wake of her death. In the centerfold, several of Ann's poems are printed with the help of Gen Cassani's artistic arrangement. In her From the Little House column, Mary Ann McGivern poignantly writes of Ann's life and death in the continuum of the life and death of many who have passed through the Worker. In her From Karen House article, Virginia Druhe reminds us of the joys of summer that percolated throughout the house. In addition, she touches on the Karen House finances and also announces her leaving the community because her work and time are taking her elsewhere. Luckily, she'll still be living near and volunteering at the house. We could spend a whole issue acknowledging and thanking Virginia for her life and work at Karen House. Her intellect, kindness, courage, and love have been shared with so many.... We thank you, Virginia, and our great consolation is that you're still so close and involved in our lives. And in the Round Table Talk, Jim McCracken, a kind and gifted volunteer who spent the summer working at Karen House, offers us a reflection on being steadfast in love in the face of the drug war which surrounds us.
Ann's love was grounded in her deep faith in the truth of Jesus Christ. And this love and commitment led her to do hard things, even to the point of leaving family and friends to serve the poor in another country. I have often been struck by Ann's courage. Stories of this abound; one small example: Ann was on retreat in the U.S. the day the Jesuits and the two women were murdered in San Salvador. Within a few days of this incident she was heading back, despite the palpable tension that was present at that time. She knew where she had to be.
The Easter Vigil Mass has many meaningful symbols and beautiful expressions. One of my favorite moments occurs when the paschal candle is carried into a darkened church. At the appropriate time, the light from that candle is passed on to surrounding candles. Slowly, one by one, the light spreads until the whole church becomes glowing with the light from that first light. If you're lucky enough to see this happening from a distance, early on you'll notice that occasionally when the flames are spread, one candle will shoot off from the ring and head over to a darkened section of the church to start spreading the fire there. Ann was that shoot for us. She not only brought that light to classrooms, shelters, living rooms, emergency rooms and clinics, but her flame lit darkened comers within each person who was graced to know her. This coming Easter, let's remember Ann and be thankful for the light she passed on to us, a light that will never go out.
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