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On Pilgrimage (May 1979)

Summary: A collection of jottings about visitors, gifts, books, the Holy Week liturgy and protests against nuclear submarines. Cesar Chavez visits. (DDLW #598).The Catholic Worker, May 1979, 1, 2.

The little gingko tree, that was brought to me from Avon, Ohio some years ago by Dorothy Gauchat’s son, David, is growing and budding in a gallon can in the office. A sign of hope, of perseverance. Across the street, a lone tree, now covered with green leaves reaches to the third floor of the apartment house.


Listened to Eugene Onegin from the Metropolitan Opera on the radio this afternoon. It was Helene Iswolsky’s favorite opera. A refrain in it has haunted me all evening.

Reading Queechy, by Elizabeth Wetherell, today. It was recommended to me by a high school friend many, many years ago. It is about combating poverty, making one’s living on the land.

No letters done. “Joyous, I lay waste the day!”

Went to Sunday Mass at Nativity Church with Mary Lathrop Pope, who has painted a huge banner of St. Thomas Aquinas, which she hung on the wall over my bed. Also a smaller painting of St. Catherine of Siena kneeling before a crucifix in a beautiful chapel, and Our Lord appearing to her hanging on a huge cross. Very suitable for Lent.

Peter Maurin was always speaking of “the thirteenth, the greatest of all centuries,” and wanted me to follow in St. Catherine of Siena’s footsteps and “advise the Popes” of his (Peter’s) program for social reform: “round table discussions for clarification of thought, houses of hospitality and farming communes.”


Peggy, Dan and Frank went to Warwick again to look at the property that we hope will be our new farm. They got back in time for our evening Mass in the chapel.

A new edition of my book, Therese, first published in 1960, arrived today. A paper back–attractive. It has been re-published by Templegate Publishers, Springfield Ill. 62705, thanks to Stanley Vishnewski, who had met the Templegate editor while on his traveling photoshow.


My godchild, Jean Kennedy came to hear Frank Sheed speak at our Friday night meeting. She brought a beautiful afgan that is hanging over my rocking chair, and also a delicious fruit salad. I ate it all! How sensual I am, A glutton. Was it St. Catherine of Siena or St. Angela Foligno who wanted to tie a baked chicken around her neck and run through the streets, shouting “I am a glutton!”


Dr. Marion Moses phoned. We talked about the fam workers but mostly about Harrisburg, Pa. and nuclear energy and nuclear waste. ” Pray as though all depended on God, and work as though all depended on ourselves.”

Four thousand people went to Groton, Connecticut, to protest the launching of the Trident nuclear submarine. Janet Ward, Geoff Gneuhs, Dan Mauk, Gary Donatelli and Bob Ellsberg were among the 200 who were arrested. The demonstrations against nuclear weapons and nuclear energy will continue, in New York City, as well as at the plant sites.

This afternoon, Deane Mowrer and I went down to the dining room to help fold copies of The Catholic Worker, to get them ready for mailing.


Palm Sunday was a joyful day. We had Mass in the house, beginning with the blessing of the palms in the back garden and a procession into the auditorium. And a day of gifts: Helen, “our gatekeeper,” gave me a handkerchief she had embroidered: one of our guests gave me The Little Flowers of St. Francis,which I had mentioned in my March/April column (Other readers have sent copies too, each one a different edition) ; and my brother John visited, and brought David Copperfield, my favorite of Dickens, The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis, and Pilgrim’s Progress, which I have never read.


Our Holy Thursday Mass was at 7:30 p.m. in the Maryhouse auditorium. The auditorium was beautiful.

On Good Friday afternoon, Eileen Egan and I went to the Spanish service at our parish church.

Easter Saturday, we had the Easter Vigil and Mass at St. Joseph house on First Street at 9:00 p.m., with Father Geoff and Fathers Peter and Pierre of the Little Brothers of the Gospel.

On Easter Sunday afternoon, Cesar Chavez came with Marion Moses to see us. He had spoken in the morning at Riverside Church about the United Farmworkers Union strike against the California lettuce growers and the boycott of Chiquita bananas. They then went to Mass at Corpus Christi Church, and came to Maryhouse. It was a very pleasant visit.

Bob Ellsberg visited after his release from jail in Connecticut, following his arrest at the anti-nuclear demonstration at Groton, and gave me a copy of The Phoenix magazine. It has a reprint of his moving account of his arrest and jail experience at Rocky Flats, Colorado last year that we had printed in the July/August 1978 issue of The Catholic Worker.


Since we make appeals once or twice a year for funds, we have to make a report of our resources and expenses. This past year, we took in less than we spent out. Our bread bill (day-old bread) for the two city houses for the last six months was $3,395!

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