Karen House Catholic Worker



About Karen House

About the Catholic


The Roundtable

Get Involved




The RoundTable

Thirty Years!

Winter 2007


Major Articles

  • Across the Years- Teka Chidress
  • We Are Family (and Community) – Virginia Druhe
  • Can’t Live if Living is Without You (Volunteers) – John Carroll
  • I Like to Eat, Eat Eat: Top Ten Things to Know about Food at Karen House
  • Say a Little Prayer for You – Becky Hassler

Download Entire Issue by Clicking Image Above

(large file - takes a minute!)


Karen House:

1840 Hogan St.

Saint Louis, MO  63106

Contact Us:


  • I Fought the Law and the Law Won – Mary Ann McGivern, SL
  • Day by Day – Ellen Rehg
  • Kids are Gonna Love – Tim Pekarek
  • Be Our Guest – Megan Heeney
  • Celebrate Good Times, C’mon – Annjie Schiefelbein



Why This Issue:

In looking back over thirty years at Karen House, many thoughts and images come to mind. There is the rime when a woman came to the door wearing only an American Flag. There is the memory of the set of sisters that, God forgive us, we called "the terrible twins." We had to put them out and one of them kept lighting matches and flicking them at Pat Coy's toes, which were unhappily exposed in a pair of Birkenstocks. This experience gave Pat a unique opportunity to put into practice his years of seeking ways to respond nonviolently. There is the picture of Lee Carter, who had been a cook and came to stay with us at Karen House. She soon joined our community and cooked almost all our meals for a while. In addition to her culinary skills she loved animals. But when her encouragement of stray cats led, at one point, to us having twenty white cats in our backyard, the rest of us, even the most diehard cat lovers had had enough. What these and many more memories bring to me is a heart of thanksgiving.

 I think of all the communities I have lived in or been a part of. I was remembering all of the people who had been in community in order to make a list and I couldn't find a way to do it in any organized fashion. In many cases I couldn't remember who had lived together. But, what an amazing thing to have lived with and been sustained by such lovely company. Among them are some who have died, Ann Manganaro, Mark Scheu and Tom Angert. Ann was friend and mentor to so many of us in how to live a holy and loving life. Mark was our first serious Anarchist and he challenged us with his great intellect and high standards. Tom was our philosopher and such a gentle soul. And then, of course there have been dear friends of our community like Mev Puleo and Dan Horkheimer. Mev died at 32 of a brain tumor, but did amazing things through her trips to Brazil and Haiti and in her writings and even by building a community of friends as she was dying. Dan was killed in such a senseless way, also at a young age, but also did amazing things with his work at the Immigration Law Project and as a great friend to members of the Karen House Community, Co-housing Community and his many neighbors. We miss these friends and are so thankful to have shared some time with them.

Among the community memories there is the joy of some of the community children in our lives, Myrrah, the first, then Ben and Abraham Plato, Terri Cummins and now Forrest's daughters, Madeline and Cecelia. And also the darling Luna, who has been gracing the third floor.

There, of course, are the guests, the reason for our being. Many who become our great friends and have stayed in touch with us over the years, whether by living at TC House, Little House or the Dorothy Day Co-housing Community or by just coming to see us regularly, having us over, or coming back to stay with us again. Among them there have been so many wonderful children that we have come to love. And, then there are our neighbors who come to Karen House, not unlike the rest of us, for food and fellowship.

There are the volunteers who make our life at Karen House possible. Chuck and Linda Rosa Chiodini came by one day, almost thirty years ago, simply to make a donation. Bill Miller, who was on house, needed to respond to an emergency and asked them to take house for a while. One of the chores involved fixing lunch, which somehow got stolen by someone in the neighborhood. As the story goes, Chuck or Linda ran out and bought lunch and carne back and were the hit of the day. They continued to come back to take house for over twenty years. Then of course there was always bread, as Dorothy would say, and celebrations to add to our ordinary times, especially Christmas Eve mass. John Kavanaugh came faithfully over the years to help us celebrate the Incarnation and the faith that kept us going. And, since we are a Catholic Worker Community after all, there were of course, the protests and acts of resistance to war and other evils of our times. But all of these actions were made more possible by our support of one another. All of these things are written about in this thirtieth anniversary issue by Virginia, John, Becky, MaryAnn, Ellen, Tim, Megan and Annjie, with Jenny drawing a map of the neighborhood and all of the things that have grown out of or grown up around Karen House. So, we celebrate these past thirty years and give thanks. But we do so, knowing the story is not over. At our last meeting Forrest Mattli commented how happy he was that the new Catholic Workers, Megan Heeney (who actually also lived with us last year for awhile), John Carroll, Sarah Richardson, Rob Boedeker and himself had created a sense of a family among all those living at Karen House. They have and in joining the old timers, Tony Hilkin, Tim Pekarek, Annjie Schiefelbein, Jenny Truax and me, they have made the continuation of life at Karen House possible. And so again, we give thanks and hope you enjoy these reflections and pictures of he last thirty years.

-Teka Chidress



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