Karen House Catholic Worker



About Karen House

About the Catholic


The Roundtable

Get Involved




The RoundTable

The Journey to Karen House


Fall 2002


Major Articles

  • A Great Experiment in Truth – Virginia Druhe
  • As Simple as That – Mary Ann McGivern
  • Cloud of Witnesses – Jerry King
  • Thank you, Jesus, for Teka – Tracie Fantroy
  • Accompaniment 101 – Mark Chmiel
  • Deep Listening – Courtney Barrett
  • Simplicity, Community, and Love – Melissa Brickey
  • From ROTC to 1840 Hogan – Elizabeth Madden
  • Beginning Our Marriage – Carolyn Griffeth

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 Jeff Finnegan
  • Why This Issue – Barb Prosser
  • Centerfold – Collage by Dan Horkheimer
  • From Abroad – Afghanistan - Becky Hassler
  • From Karen House – Melissa Brickey
  • From Little House – Mary Ann McGivern, SL
  • RoundTable Talk – Teka Childress

Why This Issue:

In what has become a contemporary epistle for many in the U.S. religious peace movement, Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk and prolific author, counseled the young activist Jim Forest who was deeply committed to promoting peace and justice. But even with his youthful idealism, Forest had been "hitting the wall." Merton offered the following reflection:


“Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fad that your work will be apparently worthless, and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the truth of the work itself. And there, too, a great deal has to be gone through, as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down, but it gets much more real. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.”

The truth of Merton's last line is exemplified throughout this issue of the Round Table, on how folks came to the Catholic Worker in Saint Louis. Virginia Druhe and Mary Ann McGivern joined up with friends at the very beginning to start the houses of hospitality. Jerry King was moved and challenged to help by these and other women who sustained Karen and Little Houses in these first years. A former guest and now Co-Housing member, Tracie Fantroy testifies to Teka Childress's saving role in her life, while I, a Friday night housetaker, reflect on Becky Hassler's practice of accompaniment. Community members Courtney Barrett and Melissa Brickey also bear witness to the amazing solidarity and at-home-ness that Karen House provides for many people throughout Saint Louis. Finally, Elizabeth Madden and Carolyn Griffeth share their moving narratives of conversion that recently brought them to share life with the Karen House children and Co-Housing community.


In our regular columns, Mary Ann McGivern writes of the power of Hamlet as performed in a penitentiary, Becky Hassler calls for our support of the people of Afghanistan, Teka Childress ponders the reality of violence in our world from the neighborhood on the North Side to Israel and Palestine, while Melissa Brickey meditates on all those who have gone before her, marked by the sign of love.

As you read this issue, may you recall the people who have touched your own life, walked with you through trying times, and reminded you of what really matters. Let us continue to open our hearts and not count the cost.


- Mark Chmiel



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