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The RoundTable

Parenting Holy Families

Winter 2009

Major Articles

  • Providing Hospitality to Homeless Families: Parenting as a Non-Parent -Annjie Schiefelbein 
  • Learning the Language of Values: Catholic Worker Ideals and Raising Children - Ellen Rehg  
  • Parenting without Privilege: Two Interviews - Megan Heeney and John Nolan 
  • Committing to FamilyAcross Generations -  Teka Childress 
  • Forging Family: Reflections on Adoption, Homeshooling, and Community - Carolyn Griffeth

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Saint Louis, MO  63106

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Regular Features

  • Front cover: Jenny Truax
  • Centerfold: Our Holy Families - Megan Heeney
  • Why This Issue – Virginia Druhe
  • From Karen House – Colleen Kelly
  • From Teka Childress House - Jenny Truax
  • Catholic Worker Thought and Action - Timmy Cosentino

Why This Issue:

Our impetus in putting together this issue of the Round Table was our daily experience – in all of these ways – of family as a crucial place to carry out Peter Maurin’s encouragement to build a new society in the shell of the old; to create a society where it is easier for people to be good. Those of us who are parents feel urgently the need to stake a claim to a larger and deeper model of family in society. Those of us who are not raising our own children want equally to proclaim our joy by sharing in parenting within hospitality and community. We want to share with you our questions, experiences and experiments, and to call on all of us to consider the necessity of sharing in parenting far, wide and deeply. We have come to see parenting as a necessary, difficult and exhilarating engagement for all of us, and we’re grateful for the ways it transforms us as individuals, families and communities.

At a Catholic Worker, the traditional family of mom, dad and kids is the rare exception, yet holy families of many sorts happen within the context of hospitality. In one of our interviews, Sheena Hill talks with beautiful openness to Megan Heeney about the experience of being a mom with three toddlers struggling to be a family while receiving hospitality. In another interview, John Nolan relates the experience of an immigrant worker in the U.S. working to sustain family across national borders. Annjie Schiefelbein describes the goals at Karen House of offering a hospitality that shares in, yet respects, family integrity. In From TC House, Jenny Truax reflects on the joys and challenges at Teka Childress House in the long-term sharing of her and Annjie’s home with a mom and her three children. Carolyn Griffeth brings another experience of family in the Catholic Worker at Kabat House, where she and her husband are raising their two adopted sons within a community of hospitality. Ellen Rehg offers a reflection on family and Catholic Worker values from living in a self-contained family unit. Ellen, who adopted a daughter while in community at Karen House, moved out of the neighborhood, later married another former Catholic Worker, and gave birth to two other children. Teka Childress completes the picture by reflecting on the place of the elderly in the family of community.

In this issue you will also notice a few format changes. We changed our typeface to improve ease of reading and adjusted our regular columns. From Karen House will continue to appear in each issue; Little House, Kabat House and Teka Childress House will rotate in providing an accompanying article from their houses. And finally, we have added a new feature, Catholic Worker Thought & Action, dedicated to the exploration of one of seven of the “Aims and Means of the Catholic Worker Movement” in the daily life of the St. Louis Worker communities. Tim Cosentino initiates this feature appropriately for this issue by considering children as teachers of personalism.

We look forward to hearing what you think of these changes — and about your own experiments in parenting for a society where it is easier to be good.


- Virginia Druhe



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