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Witnessing for Peace in Nicaragua

Fall 1985

Major Articles

  • On the Road to Limay - Virginia Druhe
  • The Kidnapping and the Meaning of Nonviolence – Mary Dutcher
  • From Mary’s Journal
  • Making Peace Where There Is War - Virginia Druhe
  • The New Jerusalem – Mike Hamer
  • Choosing Nonviolence in the Western World – Virginia Druhe
  • A Nonviolent Pilgrimage – Pat Coy
  • Haiti and Spiritual Hunger – Mev Puleo
  • Against the Idolatry of Ideas – Mark Scheu

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Karen House:

1840 Hogan St.

Saint Louis, MO  63106

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Regular Features

  • Why This Issue – Barb Prosser
  • Centerfold – Photos of Cass House, Karen House, Little House
  • From Cass House – Tim Pekarek
  • From Little House - Mary Ann McGivern, SL
  • From Karen House – Harriette Baggett
  • RoundTable Talk – Carol Donahue CPPS

Why This Issue:

Witness for Peace is a nonviolent, direct-action undertaking by which North Americans visit and live among the people of Nicaragua, thereby creating a peace-making U.S. presence in an area where our government has brought conflict and suffering. Mary Dutcher from Karen House and Virginia Druhe from Cass House have served as long-term members of the Witness for Peace team in Nicaragua, and continue to do so.


When I think of Witness for Peace, personal images come to mind: Virginia,

Mary, prayer, and working together. Always among the images I see the faces of those from St. Louis who have traveled and been part of Witness for Peace.


We had not originally planned on this topic for our fall issue. But this more pressing and timely topic was chosen as we became increasingly aware of so many dear friends in the St. Louis Catholic Worker Community who were involved with Central America and its people. This bond of concern was dramatically heightened this August as Mary and Virginia, along with the Witness for Peace team, were abducted by the Contras on the San Juan River. After their release, Kathy Barton, Joy Cunningham, and Pete Rick from our communities traveled to Nicaragua to visit them and the people of Nicaragua.

During that time not one day passed that my thoughts and prayers were not with our travelers as they made their way to Nicaragua or with Mary and Virginia as they waited to receive them. Above all, tied to those thoughts and prayers was a concern for a country, a situation, a people my friends would become part of.

I am reminded of the extended community that creates the Catholic Worker in St. Louis. We live in hospitality houses, in surrounding communities, and in other countries. Unable to live at a Worker house, a person once commented to me: “It is good to be connected with you and the others, as my heart is where you and the people you serve live and work together."


Virginia, Mary, and Witness for Peace offer the same for me. So if I may selfishly feel the loss of Virginia and Mary here in St. Louis, I recognize it is a gift to be bonded with them in Nicaragua.


With this issue we look at Witness for Peace and celebrate the extension of our community. We reprint a letter from Virginia in which she shares her reflections on a journey to San Juan de Limay. Mary Dutcher presents her thoughts on the roots of nonviolence which sprung from the experience of the Contra capture. Kathy and Joy relate Virginia's feelings about the capture through an interview they conducted on their visit. We offer poetry of Nicaragua seen through the eyes of a Witness for Peace member, Mike Hamer. Though not a St. Louisan, he discovered us through The Round Table while in Managua. Mary Ann McGivern in the Little House column anticipates the pathos that we suspect our readers will feel in response to these articles. We invite you to respond to her reflections. Sr. Carol Donahue in "Round Table Talk" shares with us the workings of the Community Land Trust, an important project in our north side neighborhood. As always, we have the house articles, this time enhanced with photos of the houses and their community members. A reminder of old friends with an introduction to new faces.  We offer all of this to you, our extended community, wherever you may be.


-Barb Prosser



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