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The RoundTable

Radicalism Over the Long Haul

Summer 1984

Major Articles

  • Florence Jordan “The Witness That Counted”
  • Book Review: “Wings of the Dawn” – Mary Dutcher
  • The Worker: A Tradition in Contradiction – Michael McIntyre & Virginia Druhe 
  • Some Advice to Those Who Will Serve Time In Prison – Nazim Hikmet
  • The Business of Living – A “Catholic Worker” Reprint—Dorothy Day
  • Igal Roodenko

ents and Rituals

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Regular Features

  • Why This Issue? – Patrick G. Coy
  • From Cass House – Barb Prosser
  • From Karen House – Mark Scheu
  • From Little House – Mary Ann McGivern

Why This Issue:

How does one live the radical life over the long haul? How is it possible to keep our eyes centered on Christ,  when so much of our technological, consumer-oriented society tends to divert us? Although we here at the St. Louis Catholic Worker don't pretend to know the answers to such questions, we suspect the answer lies some where in the wisdom of our co-founder Dorothy Day's injunction to simply “begin where you are.”

When the renowned French philosopher Jacques Maritain visited the New York Catholic Worker in its early years, he found there "a preparation for the future for which we long." The truth is, the preparation for the future that he found was nothing more and nothing less than the attempt

to live out the gospel--day by day, month by month, year by year--until a life has suddenly gone by and we find ourselves making love its measure. The future we prepare for is not some objective prize in the sky, miraculously obtained one morning due to the fruits of our labors the day before. At the heart of the Catholic Worker vision is a steadfast rejection of this approach--this tendency to objectivization which is an unfortunate hallmark of technological society.

Maritain did not find at the Worker the future that is all too often only grasped at and hoped for.

No, he found rather the future that courses through our daily lives--like the blood in our veins--the future that is made up of the whole of who we are today. Dorothy was fond of quoting St. Catherine of Siena in this regard, “All the way to heaven is heaven.”

During these difficult and dangerous times, when there is no relief in sight to systematic assaults on the poor at home and abroad, when the arms race is escalating at a fever pitch, when wars and rumors of wars abound, it is oftentimes hard to find the courage to carry on. Aristotle once defined hope as “what is that but a future prepared for, but a dream lived out today?” The key to sustaining a radical life over the long haul seems to lie in the very fabric of our lives--in the challenge to be open to the graces of God on a daily basis. The fifty-one year history of the Catholic Worker reveals that there are at 1east two things that we can be sure of: God’s graces are ever-present in our lives if we but have eyes to see; and nothing lasts over the long haul unless it be a way of life--a lifestyle.

And so, Virginia Druhe and Mike McIntyre examine the Worker tradition and lifestyle, finding that our sustenance comes in the midst of our weakness.

We are especially proud to present as the heart of this issue of The Round Table, two interviews conducted over the last year with long-time activists--people who have, indeed, lived the radical life over the long haul: Florence Jordan of Koinonia Farm and Igal Roodenko of the War Resisters League. These interviews reveal dreams awakened. Mary Dutcher sends from Nicaragua a review of Stanley Vishnewski's recently released history of the early years of the Worker, entitled Wings of the Daw. We close as is our custom, with articles from our three houses--the story of our own preparation for the future.

-Patrick G. Coy

(Special thanks go to Virginia Druhe for transcribing these interviews and to Larry Nolte for original line drawings for this issue of The Round Table.



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