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The RoundTable

A Day in the Life of the Worker

Spring 1984

Major Articles

  • Discovering the Holy – Belden C. Lane
  • Images of Justice – Patrick G. Coy
  • Long Way From Home – Marilyn Thomas
  • You Were There – Ellen Rehg
  • Solitude in the Lord – Sr. Monica Schieber
  • Every Day is Different – Lee Carter

ents and Rituals

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Karen House:

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Saint Louis, MO  63106

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Regular Features

  • Why This Issue? – Patrick G. Coy
  • From Little House – Mary Ann McGivern, S.L.
  • From Cass House – Zack Davisson
  • From Karen House – Ann Manganaro, S.L.

Why This Issue:


If any of our readership were not already convinced of the validity and need for revisionist histories, a day spent at the Catholic Worker listening and responding to the life stories of our guests might very well serve to convince them. Just as much of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures is revelation history written from “the underside” of history,  so, too, do we find modern theophanies liberally sprinkled throughout the stories of our guests’ daily lives.


Beyond the Bible, revisionist writers like Dee Brown for the Native Americans, Vincent Harding for Black Americans, Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza for women, and Howard Zinn for political and social activists in general, have consistently shown us how history has been written by those in the status quo seeking to justify and preserve the status quo. Consequently, the significant contributions of women, of people of color, and other marginalized groups have been systematically ignored--even edited out--in the incomplete mosaic that is presented to us as the making of history (herstory). This white male monopoly on the writing and telling of history is an integral piece in the larger puzzle of oppression facing women, minorities and others suffering the ill effects of economic injustice.


The radical methodology of the Catha1ic Worker has always had at its center the belief that we must live amongst the poor and marginalized in order to gain a complete perspective on reality--both human and divine. At the core of this belief lies the truly revolutionary insight that the marginalized offer a wholly new perspective on reality. For as our co-founder Peter Maurin was wont to say, “The poor are the ambassadors of God.”


The same February snowstorm in St. Louis is perceived quite differently by the urban homeless than it is by the suburban family comfortably tucked away with central heat, an auxiliary wood stove, and electric blankets. Attempts to cut down on welfare and food stamp “fraud” --serving only the “truly needy" as it were--is experienced differently by single mothers who now have to stand in application lines for whole days at a time, and who though only semiliterate, have to fill out exhaustive information sheets, than it is experienced by those legislators whose mistaken notions of distributive justice caused them to enact the legislation in the first place. And again, the dismantling of long-overdue affirmative action legislation and programs is likely to be perceived one way by a young unemployed black woman, and in quite another manner by a young white male professional. Similarly, the God-experience of these two people will be different.


Recognizing this reality, and believing deeply that God manifests herself to us not so much in the extraordinary as in the ordinary, we present this issue of The Round Table. It tells the story of "One Day in the life of the St. Louis Catholic Worker," a revisionist history of February 7, 1984. A new perspective on reality; a different experience of the divine in the world than may be your custom.


We believe we are presenting you with nothing short of a treasure--the story of God in our lives --both workers and guests. It is our hope that you be as graced in this reading of the divine story as Hyam the Water Carrier (a character found in Belden Lane's rich lead article) was in his telling of the divine story.


- Patrick G. Coy



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