Karen House Catholic Worker
Spiritualities of the Land
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1840 Hogan St.
Saint Louis, MO 63106
Why This Issue:
One evening at Mass early this summer, a community member said he was thankful for having just had the opportunity to go fishing, for the good fortune to catch some fish, and for the grace to know he was of the earth when be ate the fish. He said it was a sacramental moment.
In this issue we hope to examine some of those moments of truth when we know that our spirits as well as our bodies are of the earth.
Initially, when we discussed whether to choose "the land" as the theme, we considered writing on soil erosion, agribusiness, cash cropping, strip mining, deforestation. We remembered Cesar Chavez saying here in St. Louis that the U.S. spends more to store surplus food that we pay for farm labor; and we considered articles on the politics of hunger and on migrant workers. We decided not to write about the cries of anguish from our earth and those who till it; but to request instead some reflections on the land as a source of our joy.
Pat Coy describes some characteristics of spirituality rooted in experiences of nature and the risk we run of alienating ourselves from God when we separate ourselves from the earth.
Chris Montesano of Sheep Ranch Catholic Worker Farm in California restates Peter Maurin's vision of how things should be. It is not enough to offer urban hospitality and to resist war. The nuclear alley we've come down is a dead end so we must turn around and go back to the land.
Joe Angert took and developed the pictures for this issue, which indeed speak a thousand words about land and God. Gregory Cusack of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference recalls his childhood rapture with the natural world.
Make McIntyre and Janet McKennis write their final House columns. Teka Childress concludes the issue with her reflections about how friends in the poorest lands keep the suffering of the poor in our minds always.
Reading these essays, I remember Isaiah's promise that:
No child shall ever again die an infant
or fail to live out life....
My people shall build houses and live to inhabit them,
Plant vineyards and eat their fruit; ...
My people shall live the long life of a tree,
And my chosen shall enjoy the fruit of their labor. (Is 65:20,21,23)
Isaiah's vision is our hope and prayer and gives purpose to our lives.
-Mary Ann McGivern, S.L.
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