Karen House Catholic Worker



About Karen House

About the Catholic


The Roundtable

Get Involved




The RoundTable

Simple Living

Simple Living

Winter 2002


Major Articles

  • Time Uncluttered – Julie Jakimczyk
  • Eating Nonviolently – Carolyn Griffeth
  • Walking the Path of Peace – Elizabeth Madden
  • Musings on Speed – Randy Kehler



Download Entire Issue by Clicking Image Above

(large file - takes a minute!)


Karen House:

1840 Hogan St.

Saint Louis, MO  63106

Contact Us:



Regular Features

  • Cover – Artwork by Carolyn Griffeth
  • Why This Issue – Ellen Rehg
  • Centerfold – Quotes on Simplicity
  • From Abroad – Mongolia – Susan Griffeth, Carolyn Griffeth
  • From Little House - Mary Ann McGivern, SL
  • From Karen House – Annjie Schiefelbein
  • RoundTable Talk – Artwork from Dorothy Day CoHousing Community Kids

Why This Issue:

It wasn't too long ago that Teka Childress, who has worked (and mostly lived) at Karen House for 20 years and going, worried a bit about how much longer she could do so. Not that she tired of her life as a Catholic Worker, but the community had become so small, it seemed there might not be enough people to carry on the work. Tim Pekarek, himself a "lifer" almost as long as Teka, and Becky Hassler, were among the faithful remnant. But, as it turned our, we were like Moses as he worried about whether he ought to strike the rock twice (instead of his usual once), since surely God would not continue to bring water out of a rock after all those years. After all these years, God's grace continues to pour on to Karen House, in the form of a new generation of people dedicated to the harsh and dreadful (but also incredibly joyful and beautiful-Dostoyevsky was only half right) life at the Catholic Worker.


I remember the precise moment when I saw the sea change coming - the generational tide beginning to turn. Fittingly, it was on Teka's 39 birthday. Christy Finsel, who had herself heard the siren call of the Worker since her High School days, brought a roomful of her 20-somelhing friends and acquaintances to celebrate Tuesday night mass with us. Courtney and Jenny, present day community members, were almost surely among this crowd, most of whom were not necessarily there to stay. But I saw it as a portent of things to come. Today there are 11 community members, the majority of whom are in their 20's, and an even larger co-housing community, whose membership overlaps and exceeds that of the Karen House community. In addition there are a number of "fellow travelers" (to use an old phrase most likely only one of my generation knows) and friends living and/or volunteering near-by.


I write this as a 45 year old former member of the community (and I hope, always a "fellow traveler") who has felt the impact of this "paradigm shift" in generations both at Karen House and on the Round Table committee. And I am overjoyed to see it. To me it is truly a sacrament- a sign of God's presence and love working in people's hearts, blooming in their lives. I am inspired by each person's story of his/her deepening commitment to live a life with the poor that led them to Karen House. I am deeply grateful that they have chosen to share their many gifts with the guests and all of us. And I am simply happy to know such good hearted people and to call them friends. Some of these gifts and stories are evident in this issue.


We write about the perennial topic of simplicity, yet this "new generation" (there I go sounding like my parents or something) has taken the call to live simply to a deeper level than that of "merely" divesting oneself of too many possessions. Instead, the simplicity they write about focuses on the fundamental issues of time, food and how we get from one place to another. Julie Jakimczyk, Karen House community member whose dedication to simple living is unparalleled, unless by Tony Hilkin, opens the issue with a reflection on how to remove the clutter from our time, rather than our dwelling places. (Of course, the two are connected.) Carolyn Griffeth, a member of Dorothy Day co-housing community, writes about just eating practices, being in right relationship with our food, and hence our world and each other. Elizabeth Madden, Karen House community member, writes about her experiments in transportation, from air travel to bus and bike. We include our usual columns and a few of the always on-target easy essays by Peter Maurin.


I feel like I ought to conclude with some appropriate phrase like, 'The King is dead, long live the King", except that those of us old "kings" aren't really dead, I hope, and I'd have to change it to, "The Rulers are dead, long live the Rulers!" So perhaps a simple "Adelante!" will have to do. If you don't understand the reference, ask a forty-something.


-Ellen Rehg



The RoundTable is 24 pages long.  To download, you'll need the most recent version of Adobe Acrobat.

Download Adobe Acrobat 8 here (it's easy AND free!)


Search all of the RoundTable issues for an author, subject or title here:

Google search
WWW www.karenhousecw.org