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Love in Practice is a Harsh and Dreadful Thing Compared to Love in Dreams

Spring 1983

Major Articles

  • Love in Practice – Jim Wallis
  • Roots, Stems and Blossoms – Ann Bolen Carter
  • A Courageous and Peacemaking Love – Pat Coy
  • Of Fires and Flames – Bill Miller
  • A Harsh and Dreadful Comparison – Mary Ann McGivern, S.L.
  • Backward Glances – Virginia Druhe
  • A Dream Revisited – Sue Lauritsen

Crisis and Hope

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Saint Louis, MO  63106

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Regular Features

  • From Karen House – Mike McIntyre
  • From Little House – Bill Miller

Why This Issue:

This issue coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the Catholic Worker Movement in New York City on May 1, 1933. It is also the third in our trilogy of issues focusing on faith, hope, and love. The co-incidence couldn’t be nicer: “Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams,” was Dorothy's oft-repeated quotation from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. And the phrase “harsh and dreadful love” has become inextricably associated in many people's minds with the Catholic Worker Movement.


We thought to spend a lot of this issue simply focusing on various aspects of the Catholic Worker, beginning with Jim Wallis' reflections on Dorothy Day and her meaning for our times. Anne and Bolen Carter's more personal reflections about Dorothy add a touch of “local color” to round out our sense of her impact on people.


Pat Coy shares his reflections on the peace-making facets of the Worker, which many people have indeed experienced as harsh and dreadful, if not downright scandalous. Mary Ann McGivern carries on the tradition of intense and hotly debated round table discussions for the clarification of thought, as she neatly compares the justifications for going to war under the just war theory to a woman’s justification for choosing an abortion. Bill Miller offers a sensitive prose poem about fires and flames, and we include our communal 1etter to the American bishops on the third draft of their pastoral on war and peace.


In lieu of a unified photo essay, we’ve taken “our gang” type photographs of everyone in each of the three houses that we've placed by the news from each house. Fittingly enough, we begin the section of news of the houses with Virginia Druhe's reflections on the beginnings of the current St. Louis Catholic Worker and close with a farewell from Sue Lauritsen, the "first beginner" of the St. Louis Worker as we know it today.


It may well be that a practical, practiced and self-transcending love is our only salvation as we hear of the slaughter of the poor in Central America, the evermore desperate plight of the poor in our own country, and a seemingly insane will to collective suicide on the part of the most powerful of the world's politicians. Now more than even fifty years ago, the harsh and dreadful love of the Catholic Worker--serving the poor as a matter of justice and holding uncompromisingly to pacifism as the Gospel mandate--seems the best news of the times.



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