Karen House Catholic Worker
Beginning to Live in a Different Way: Karen House and the Catholic Worker Movement
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1840 Hogan St.
Saint Louis, MO 63106
Why This Issue:
"The aim of the Catholic Worker movement is to live in accordance with the justice and charity of Jesus Christ...This aim requires us to begin living in a different way." This quote from The Aims and Means of the Catholic Worker (published each May in the New York paper) expresses the vision of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, founders of the movement.
Inspired by their witness and desiring to see the dignity and beauty of each person, we members of the St. Louis Catholic Worker continue our efforts to live in this "different way". With several new members joining the Karen House community this year, we spent time at the Armbruster's place in the country and discussed the tenets of our movement: Personalism, a decentralized society, a "green revolution," nonviolence, the Works of Mercy (among them, hospitality), manual labor, and voluntary poverty. Volunteers come to Karen House and often ask us why we do what we do. So, continuing Peter Maurin's tradition of the "clarification of thought," we share our philosophy with you, our readers.
Melissa Brickey starts off the issue by describing Linda Carson's practice of Personalism, noting bow much of our philosopby we are generously taught by our guests. Julie Jakimczyk and Tony Hilkin describe the "Greening of Anarchism" and remind us, like Dorothy Day did in her postscript to The Long Loneliness, that it all comes down to love. Marc Leonard, one of our lovely new community members (but not new to community) portrays nonviolence as the essence of love and sees love as being the essence of nonviolence. Annjie Schiefelbein talks about the joys and wonders of offering hospitality and doing the works of mercy. She speaks of the conversion and revolution that happen when we allow ourselves to be "led by love." Jenny Truax writes about labor and quotes another Catholic Worker who said, "You can't do the works of Mercy without the work." Jenny points out how the Catholic Worker belief in the dignity of work stands in direct opposition to society's value-convenience.
Carolyn Griffeth describes the embracing of voluntary poverty "as an act of love ... and a path to forging authentic and just relationships." Keeping in the tradition of Anarchism and Personalism, we vary from the theme of this issue to bring you an interview with a living embodiment of Catholic Worker tenets, Carl Kabat. Ellen Rehg interviews Carl, who recently left us, after bringing us such joy this past year and keeping even the most determined of us from taking ourselves too seriously.
We hope you enjoy this issue and as always, thanks so much for joining us in efforts to live out this vision and for making our life at Karen House possible.
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