The Great Turning Catholic Worker: Open House on Friday, June 2nd!

Join us on Friday, June 2nd for an open house! We’re looking for volunteers to be a part of community life and to help around the house in myriad ways. We are so looking forward to doing this work together!

5/31 – A Couple Updates!

June 2 fundraising goal

We’ve made it to our June 2nd goal of $195,000 to be able to close on the house! Come celebrate with us, details below! Thank you to folks making contributions of every amount. We are so grateful for the community of support.

Open House – Friday, June 2nd @ 1409 Lucy Ln, Madison

We close on the house on Friday at noon, and would like to invite you to join us for an afternoon and evening Open House. Please come and celebrate with us, it’s going to be quite a party 🙂

Here’s the schedule of events:

3 PM: Arrival for anyone wishing to do some prep and setup for the house. We’ll also be tearing down the fence between 1409 and the Novotney’s house. Bring your work gloves 🙂
5 PM: Open house will begin with a brief ceremony. Then, a tour of the house, yard, garden, chickens and more!
6 PM: Potluck dinner with live music by Moldy Jam
8 PM: Goodbyes

Stop by for five minutes or stay for the evening. We hope you can join us!

What to bring? Please bring any food or non-alcoholic beverage item you’d like to share, as well as your own dishware if possible. We’ll have a few main dishes to pass, likely a lot of burgers, brats, and salad.

Also, please consider bringing some toilet paper, kleenex, or something off of our household needs list below.

Hope to see you there!

Continued Fundraising Journey

Our fundraising journey is not over and as we look ahead, we’ll prepare for the major repair needed of replacing the roof, as well as mortgage and utility payments, and the remainder of the house purchase payoff. If you are able, consider becoming a monthly supporter of any dollar amount, whether that be $5 or $500.

Household Needs List

We are hoping to acquire many items to furnish the house. Here’s a list of known needed items:


  • Kitchen table 
  • Couches
  • Coffee table
  • Shelves
  • Bunk beds
  • Twin and full beds
  • Dressers
  • End tables 
  • Chairs- not kitchen 
  • Rugs
  • Lamps
  • Wall hanging/ art
  • File cabinet 
  • Patio furniture
  • Deep freeze
  • Dehumidifier 

Other furnishing items:

  • Toaster
  • Coffee Maker
  • Mirror(s)
  • Laundry baskets/ hamper
  • Blankets 
  • Pillows
  • Towels
  • Bath curtain 
  • Pots and pans
  • Silverware
  • Plates and bowls
  • Potholders
  • Fan(s)
  • Mugs
  • Cups
  • Dishcloths
  • Dishtowels 
  • Vase
  • Blender
  • Pressure cooker 
  • Toilet brush
  • Toilet cleaner

Other items:

  • Kleenex
  • Toilet paper
  • Ziplock bags- all sizes
  • Notebooks
  • Laundry detergent
  • Hand soap
  • Dish soap

Food staples:

  • Tea
  • Oats
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Canned food
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Condiments

Planned ‘Work Days’

We know there will be lots to do in and around the house, so we’re getting a couple work days scheduled on the calendar. We’ll brew the coffee, you bring your helpful presence, your smile, your muscle, or anything else you’re willing to offer. 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM, come for as little or as much as you’d like.

Saturday June 17, Saturday June 24, Thursday July 13, and Saturday August 12

Okay, that’s it for now. Thank you for being a part of this community!

5/16 update

Since 2014, folks from the Madison Catholic Worker have sought the means and a suitable location to open a Catholic Worker house of hospitality. And for the last year, Andrea and Justin Novotney have been in conversation with their neighbor about purchasing the house next door to use in this same Catholic Worker model of offering hospitality. In a matter of weeks, both of these efforts will come to fruition when the Great Turning Catholic Worker is able to purchase that house to offer hospitality to those in need, particularly refugees, families with children, women and mothers.

And we need your help! We close on the house on June 2nd, and still have much work to do. If you are interested in collaborating with us, please fill out this pledge form to let us know how you might be involved. We are in need of approximately $20,000 in financial support to get us to June 2nd. Beyond that, we’re hoping you can connect us with nonprofit accounting / CPA services and roofing services.

Thank you for your support.

Pledge form: https://tinyurl.com/cw-pledge-form

4/26 update

We have an accepted offer on the house next door! For the Catholic Worker community in Madison (Madison CW since 2014, Great Turning CW since 2019), this has been in the works for roughly a decade. It has been through prayer, discernment, faith, and persistence that this day has finally arrived, and we are overjoyed to share this news!

Thank you for your support in getting us this far! We give thanks for the time and energy that so many people have invested in this cause: outreach and fundraising calls, pro bono legal work, a hugely experienced realtor to get us through to an accepted offer, the love, encouragement, and prayers of so many of you, and many hours of digging up answers to financial questions. Maybe most significantly, this undertaking isn’t possible without our neighbor’s good will to sell the house (far) below market value because he believes in us and has chosen to support this kind of work in the world. Thank you.

To update the financial picture – we successfully met our first goal of raising $140,000 by April 25th to reach 75% of the initial down payment! The final down payment due at closing (June 2) is $195,000. So far, we’re able to cover $155,000. We need a further $40,000 to be ready to close on the house on June 2nd.

If you are able to contribute financially now or in the future, we would greatly appreciate your contribution! Checks can be made out to Great Turning Catholic Worker, Inc. and mailed to:

Great Turning Catholic Worker
1405 Lucy Lane
Madison, WI 53711

You can also reach out to Justin for more information at: novotnjm.justin@gmail.com

4/22 update

Friends, supporters, and encouragers! We are pretty close to our initial goal of raising 75% of the down payment by the time our neighbor is ready to accept an offer on the house. We are still shy $15,000 going into Monday when we will write the offer.
We have raised $125,000 so far towards our goal for this coming week of $140,000.

Beyond that needed $15,000 will be an additional $45,000 to get us to the full down payment of $185,000 which will be due around June 1. So a total of $65,000 is still outstanding at this time.

We are very close!

We appreciate any prayers, words of encouragement or support, (words of discouragement if the Spirit so leads you), and any connections with those in your network who you think may be interested in supporting this endeavor.

Please reach out if you have any questions, suggestions, or would like to find ways to be involved!

With MUCH gratitude for your support and love,
Justin, Andrea, Marilyn, Dennis of the Great Turning Catholic Worker Farm

Great Turning CW’s story

Andrea and Justin Novotney of the Great Turning Catholic Worker Farm (Madison, Wisconsin) hope to raise $195,000 by June 2 to purchase the house next door. The new house will provide hospitality to guests, expand the urban farming operation, and provide more space for other activities.

“Our work in this home will be centered around offering hospitality to those in need of housing, particularly refugees, families with children, women and mothers,” Justin Novotney says. “It will also expand our ability to continue the work of gardening, education & workshops, and building up systems of resistance and resiliency.”

The Novotneys left professional careers to start the Great Turning Catholic Worker Farm on the west side of Madison, Wisconsin in 2019. Besides being influenced by Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement, the Novotneys’ sense of mission has also been shaped by the writing of Joanna Macy about the Great Turning,” the cultural shift away from the Industrial Growth Society toward a life-sustaining civilization.

“We often speak of our role in Madison as a ‘hub of resiliency’ in uncertain times,” the Novotneys write. “Our Catholic Worker farm is committed to values of simple living, hospitality, resistance, resiliency, and care for the most vulnerable. We’re committed to embracing the poor among us, learning from them, and together, creating an abundant community. “

In 2022, the Novotneys learned that their neighbor intended to sell his home at 1409 Lucy Lane. After prayerful discernment, they reached out to see whether he would be willing to sell the home to them.

The Novotneys had briefly attempted to do guest hospitality in their own residence, but with three young children in a small house, it proved unworkable. The new house will let them re-envision the community’s activities, including long-term hospitality, with the support of the larger Madison Catholic Worker community.

1409 Lucy Lane

If their vision resonates with you, consider helping to make it a reality with your generous gift. Checks can be made out to Great Turning Catholic Worker, Inc. and mailed to:

Great Turning Catholic Worker
1405 Lucy Lane
Madison, WI 53711

You can also reach out to Justin for more information at: novotnjm.justin@gmail.com

“People say, what is the sense of your small effort. They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time.”
– Dorothy Day
Justin and Andrea Novotney with their children: Joe (7), Matt (5), and Ezra (2).

This story was updated on April 27 to reflect new fundraising numbers and the accepted offer on the house 🙂

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