Karen House Catholic Worker



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The RoundTable

From Karen House

Fall 1996


Major Articles

  • Drawn by Love – Christy Finsel
  • From the Community – Tim Pekarek, Becky Hassler, Mitch McGee, Teka Childress
  • From the Guests
  • Living the Paradox - Teka Childress

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Karen House:

1840 Hogan St.

Saint Louis, MO  63106

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Regular Features

  • Cover – Photo Mark Chmiel
  • Why This Issue – Mark Scheu
  • Centerfold –  Artwork Jeff Finnegan, Text:  Being a Catholic Worker- 100 Suggestions by Bill Kellerman
  • From Abroad – Honduras – Michael Dulick
  • From Karen House – Teresa Jorgen
  • From Little House - Mary Ann McGivern, SL
  • RoundTable Talk – Mary Ann McGivern, SL

Why This Issue:

“The most significant thing about the Catholic Worker is poverty, some say. The most significant thing is community, others say. We are not alone anymore. But the final word is love. At times it has been, in the works of Father Zossima, a harsh and dreadful thing, and our faith in love has been tried through fire."

As I perused the articles assembled for this issue, focusing on Karen House itself, these words of Dorothy Day emerged ineluctably from my memory. Simple living, even living in poverty, yes. Community, yes. But above all, the realization that the most significant thing is that we care for one another, that we accept our responsibility for one another, that we are present to one another without judgment, without ceasing. Compassion for individuals is the heart of the Gospel, and it still enlivens the work of the Catholic Worker.

It is revealed in this issue in the stories of the community members, as they describe what drew them to this work and what sustains them. It is revealed in the lives of the guests, as related in their own words and as told in Teka's poignant reminiscences about several former guests of the house. It is revealed in Teresa Jorgen's reflection on the "golden age" of Karen House.

Indeed, it is from this Gospel love that the so-called principles or aims of the Catholic Worker arise: pacifism, solidarity with the poor (the majority of the world), and anarchism. Fittingly, Mary Ann McGivern gives the final stamp on the previous issue's discussion of that "ism" in her Round Table Talk. Here again the central principle is that people matter most, and any economy or system can only be measured by how it treats individuals.

It was not for a system, or a nation, or a creed that Jesus died on the cross, but out of compassion for humanity, for the friends he had gathered about him and had come to love in his life. By the miracle of God's grace that redeeming love is extended to us all, and continues to be embodied, or incarnate, in places like Karen House.

-Mark Scheu



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