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CW Community News
Catholic Worker Free Clinic Granted Zoning Variance
Johanna Berrigan and Mary Beth Appel of the House of Grace Catholic Worker (Philadelphia) report that the community’s free clinic was recently granted a variance by the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) to continue operations from its existing location. This comes after months of uncertainty and an overwhelming show of support from the community.
“We are truly grateful and deeply moved by the outpouring of support we have received over these many months,” the pair wrote in an August 18 letter to supporters.
During the hearing, the community’s lawyer was able to present the history and contributions of the clinic to the community spanning several decades. Additionally, 80 pages of support documentation, which encompassed a petition bearing 500 signatures, numerous comments, and letters from individuals and organizations, were submitted in favor of the variance.
Berrigan and Appel noted that the clinic building will need further renovations to bring it up to code regulations.
Two Years Into Eight-Year Sentence, Friends Seek Support for Jessica Reznicek
As Jessica Reznicek marks two years of her eight-year prison sentence, supporters are launching a digital campaign to rally around her. Reznicek was sentenced in June 2021 after pleading guilty to a single count of damaging the Dakota Access pipeline; the judge enhanced the sentence on the grounds that it was an act of domestic terrorism.
Reznicek and her co-defendant, Ruby Montoya, were both members of the Des Moines Catholic Worker community.
To galvanize support for Jessica and all water defenders, her friends are encouraging people to post videos or photos on social media platforms. Among the suggested statements of support: “I stand with Jessica because __” and “Jessica took action to prevent this (climate) disaster, yet she is in jail and those who caused it walk free raking in record profits.” Supporters are urged to use the hashtags #freejessicareznicek and #jessicareznicek and to tag @FreeJessRez on various platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You can read the full statement here: As Jessica Reznicek Marks Two Years, Friends Ask for Support.
Iowa City CW Founder Honored on Local “40 Under 40” List
The Iowa City Catholic Worker recently announced that co-founder Dr. Emily Sinnwell has been nominated to the Corridor Business Journal’s 2023 “Forty Under 40” award recognizing individuals who have made a significant impact in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City business corridor early in their careers.
Sinnwell is a dual-certified nurse practitioner and associate clinical professor at the University of Iowa College of Nursing. “In 2016, Emily co-founded a refugee resettlement nonprofit, the Iowa City Catholic Worker, which has a large, diverse, and sustainable funding base, hundreds of volunteers, and a multitude of ministries and services,” the community wrote in an email to its supporters. “At the Catholic Worker House, she has helped raise more than $2 million to purchase two houses of hospitality, sponsored hundreds of refugees over the border to rebuild their lives in Iowa, provided long-term housing to hundreds of immigrants, and sustained holistic support, including legal, educational, employment, health, and more. Since 2020, Emily has helped foster and raise 32 unaccompanied immigrant minors, who obtained permanent legal status because of her guardianship. She is a border expert and has recently visited the U.S. Mexico borders twice on fact-finding delegations.”
The awards will be presented on October 19.
Angladas Honored as Laudato Si’ Champions
Brenna Cussen Anglada and Eric Anglada of St. Isidore Catholic Worker Farm and Agronomic University (Cuba City, Wisconsin), were honored as Laudato Si’ Champions in the family category at the July 27 closing session of the “Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church” conference, co-hosted by the Catholic Climate Covenant and Creighton University. “A committee of Covenant staff selected winners in 10 categories that mirror the seven groupings within the Vatican’s Laudato Si’ Action Platform, a multiyear initiative providing Catholic institutions at all levels a road map for putting Francis’ encyclical into action. The awards categories were: health care, universities, schools, organizations, religious orders, businesses, dioceses, parishes, families and individuals,” according to an article in the National Catholic Reporter.
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Marks Nagasaki Anniversary with Prayer and Witness
Art Laffin of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker (Washington, D.C.), sent a note to fellow Catholic Workers reporting on the community’s prayerful witness on the anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Nagasaki: “On this 78th anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Nagasaki, 35 peacemakers from the DMV held a noontime nonviolent witness and prayer service outside the White House to commemorate this unspeakable atrocity, and that which occurred in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, to call on the powers that be and the nation to repent for the nuclear sin, abolish nuclear weapons, and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and to recommit ourselves to the way of Gospel nonviolence and to working for a disarmed world where all the swords of our time are turned into plowshares and war is forever outlawed. The prayer service, organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, took place on Pennsylvania Ave. in front of the White House, where a makeshift shrine, comprised of photos of the bombing’s victims and survivors, was created. Following a collective reading of the Apology Petition to the Japanese people, Scott Wright and Jean Stokan led a moving ritual involving people placing roses on the photos…. I want to express gratitude for all who participated in this witness, including those who had reading and singing roles.”
Read a report on the vigil here: Catholics mark 78th anniversary of US atomic bombings with vigil outside White House | National Catholic Reporter
Mary’s House CW Vigils for James Barber
Members of Mary’s House Catholic Worker (Birmingham, Alabama) were among those who attended a vigil for James “Jimi” Barber on July 20 in the hours leading up to his execution by the state of Alabama. Barber was convicted for the 2001 killing of Dorothy Epps. Remarkably, Epps’s granddaughter reached out to Barber and eventually offered him forgiveness. She opposed his execution. For more: She forgave her grandmother’s murderer. She watched as Alabama killed him anyway. | Treadbylee.com
London CW Seeks Volunteers
“Live-in community members and volunteers are needed at London Catholic Worker. Come and be a part of a community of hospitality and resistance. If you want to live simply, in community with the poor, and work for peace and justice, then this is for you! All our Catholic Worker houses and projects need volunteers and community members. Please contact the relevant house for more information about how to join in with our life and work, and about our volunteer opportunities.” More information at the London CW website.
New Center for Catholic Social Thought Draws on CW Roots
Colin Miller writes in The Catholic Spirit about the new Center for Catholic Social Thought he is establishing in partnership with Assumption Parish in Minneapolis: “The center will host free classes, discussion groups, speaker series, book studies and the like, led by me and in collaboration with area experts. Our central themes are Christian community, work and labor, economics, poverty and the poor, technology, education, and the social nature of Catholicism. We’re also working on establishing a ministry of presence with the poor, drawing in part on my experience with the Catholic Worker Movement.” More Information on upcoming events, as well as a growing base of material about Catholic social thought, can be found at catholicsocialthought.org.
Quixote’s Garage: Still Providing Hospitality in Arizona
Kris Finn of Quixote’s Garage Catholic Worker (Prescott, Arizona) reports that despite the lack of activity on the community’s website, she’s still providing daytime hospitality to anyone who needs it. “I’m not a big deal,” she said in a phone call with CatholicWorker.org, “except maybe to the guests.” If you want to reach out with a word of encouragement to a small CW operation, find contact information on the Quixote’s Garage page in the CW Community Directory.
Call for Live-in Volunteers: St. Martin de Porres CW
St. Martin de Porres is a Catholic Worker community located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There is currently only one community member here and he is planning on applying to religious life with the hopes of beginning in the summer of 2024. Therefore, the community is seeking at least one new community member to come, be trained, and take over the operation.
The Agitator (Los Angeles CW) / August: This issue focuses on biblical hospitality, with articles by Matt Wisniewski on the biblical call to hospitality; Matt Harper on the real reasons we must feed and house the homeless; Donald Nollar on Skid Row and Single Room Occupancy housing in downtown Los Angeles; and a step-by-step guide for Catholic Workers interested in helping unsheltered people into long-term housing. Matt Harper writes: “What if we had a roadmap that promised, for example, to help move people from the streets into housing? Would that inspire more of us to take the next step? Recognizing that there are individuals who have built quite an extensive treasure of knowledge and wisdom in navigating the complicated journey towards housing, I recently sat down with two individuals who have grown their practice and promise: Jordan Spoliansky and Sieglinde Von Deffner. This ‘guide’ is the fruit of that conversation. We invite you to consider using it in your area.” | In the “House Journal,” Megan Ramsey shares updates from Hennacy House, including memorials for two community members who passed away: “Rudy Robinson passed peacefully in the night from cancer. The community gathered around his bedside for a final poetry reading, and we sent him off with the music of Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Aretha Franklin. I am exceedingly grateful for the music, poetry, and games that Rudy brought into our home. Following this loss, on the next day, our dear longtime Tuesday kitchen volunteer, Maria Lopez, passed away. Many of us attended her funeral, where a reunion of current and former volunteers convened to memorialize Maria along with her family and friends.” | LACW is welcoming five interns this summer, and seeing increased attendance at its Wednesday evening liturgy and potluck. | Also: Mike Wisniewski reviews John Dear’s book, They Will Inherit the Earth: Peace & Nonviolence in a Time of Climate Change, which discusses how nonviolence and caring for the earth go hand in hand.
London Catholic Worker (London, UK) / Summer: Martin Newell writes about “Love the Stranger,” the teaching document on migration released by the bishops of England and Wales in February. “Read in our current context, it is a clear challenge to attitudes that seem to be ones of widespread hostility to migrants and refugees in this country right now, and to the policies of the UK government as reflected in the ‘Illegal Migration Bill’, which has since been passed by parliament. The Bishops’ have attempted to expose some of that well-hidden dynamite to the air, so as to help open some eyes and clear away some spiritual blindness.” | Br. Johannes Maertens reports from the frontlines of the refugee crisis in Dunkirk. | Anne M. Jones reflects on the London CW’s Home Office vigil held in the wake of the Messenia migrant boat disaster. | Rida Vaquas discusses the sacrifices of those protesting against Elbit Systems: “If sacrifice is desirable for socialists, it’s unavoidable for Christians. The Lord tells us to ‘take up your cross and follow me’ – and the early Christians knew this was no metaphor. Every time I fail to turn up, to bear witness to injustice and attempt to stop it, I am rejecting the Cross. The actions of those surrounding Elbit day after day reveal to me that an easy life is not a good one. May the Lord deliver me from my continued moral cowardice.” | Luis Tinoco Terrejon looks back on his time in London for the War Resisters International conference held in London in June.
Ames (Iowa) Romero House Catholic Worker / August: The community will be shifting to daytime hospitality only: “We will offer services such as made-to-order food, showers, laundry, pool and board games, resource sharing, bible studies, and simple conversation.”
Dorothy Day Tampa / July: The community is printing an additional 5,000 copies of its QR code resource cards to hand out to people in need; the code allows users to access a resource directory on their phones. | Michael Doyle writes about the death of his wife and Dorothy Day Tampa co-founder, Ann: “As I process our profound loss and struggle to heal, a journey companion, Dorothy Day Tampa media advisor Chris Koch shared with me how Ann made a profound impact on his life. So much so, he shared he was ‘cranking up his Dorothy Day Tampa related activities a notch or two.” That sounds like the perfect plan for me too. Honor the memory and amazing legacy of Ann M. Doyle.” The community is launching an award in her name, the “Award for Foolishness.” The award will be given annually to volunteers who demonstrate “enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, doing what others claim cannot be done.”
CW in the Media
Peace Camp Volkel Activists Arrested on Runway of Volkel Air Base
Peace Camp Volkel, a weeklong peace camp at Volkel Air Base in the Netherlands coordinated by the Amsterdam Catholic Worker community, culminated in an action at the air base that resulted in the arrest of many of the activists, including a number of Catholic Workers from around the world.
Dutch Military Arrest 25 Nonviolent Anti-Nuke Protesters | Sojourners: “Dutch military police arrested 25 people nonviolently protesting against nuclear weapons and carbon dioxide emissions at Volkel Air Base about 80 miles south of Amsterdam on Aug. 8 and 9, according to Dutch News and Nukewatch. Eric Martin, an author and protestor from California arrested on Aug. 8, told Sojourners in an email that the protesters were ‘pilgrims’ from many nations meeting at Volkel ‘to uphold the laws of international treaties and the call of the prophets.’
‘We came armed with prayer and song, bread and Bibles. The military runway transfigured into an altar, signs of peace disrupting the nuclear nest,’ he wrote. ‘We hoped to enflesh in our worship a no to the death of children and creation, a yes to community and the living God of love.’”
Ten activists arrested on runway of Volkel Air Base | The Nuclear Resister: “In the Netherlands, on the morning of August 8, ten peace and climate activists (six from the U.S., three from the Netherlands and a German doctor) entered Volkel Air Base, where about 15 U.S. nuclear bombs are stockpiled. They knelt on the runway, prayed for peace and glued down copies of Article 1 and 2 of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons on the runway. They were taken into custody and later released with a small fine, which no one paid.” Among those arrested were Catholic Workers Susan Crane, Mark Colville, Ellen Grady, and Theo Kayser.
The nonviolent action was part of Peace Camp Volkel, which was coordinated by the Amsterdam Catholic Worker community.
U.S. Activists Arrested at European Air Bases Protesting U.S. Nuclear Weapons Stationed There | Democracy Now!: Amy Goodman interviews Susan Crane (Redwood City Catholic Worker) and John LaForge about their recent arrests protesting the deployment of nuclear weapons at Volkel Air Base in the Netherlands.
Civil Disobedience at European Air Base Links Threat of Nuclear Weapons with Climate Crisis | Between the Lines: An interview with Jackie Allen Doucot (Hartford Catholic Worker) about the action.
Read Ellen Grady’s letter: Small Acts of Resistance to Nuclear Proliferation Spark Hope for a Better World
Pope Francis Writes Preface to Italian Edition of “From Union Square to Rome”
Pope Francis remembers Dorothy Day, finding God in love for poor | Vatican News: Pope Francis has written a preface to the Italian translation of Dorothy Day’s From Union Square to Rome, Vatican News reports. The Italian edition, published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana-LEV, is titled I Found God Through His Poor. From Atheism to Faith: My Inner Journey.
Day wrote From Union Square to Rome in the style of a letter to her brother John, a Communist, in response to his question: “How could you become a Catholic?” The result is an autobiographical account of her life emphasizing her spiritual journey from Communism to Catholicism. ”As her adherence to the truths of faith grew, so did her consideration of the divine nature of the Catholic Church,” the Pope writes in the preface, according to Vatican News; the Pope goes on to say that Day also took an “honest and enlightened attitude” toward the faults and failings of Christians.
“My criticism of Christians in the past, and it still holds good of too many of them, is that they in fact deny God and reject Him,” Day wrote.
An English edition of From Union Square to Rome with the papal preface will be released by Orbis Books in 2024, according to an article in the National Catholic Reporter.
You can read From Union Square to Rome at CatholicWorker.org.
Motels4Now Profiled in NCR
‘Motels4Now’ project near Notre Dame offers housing for South Bend homeless people | National Catholic Reporter: Catherine M. Odell profiles Motels4Now, a housing-first program started in August 2020 by members of St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker (South Bend, Indiana). The program houses the chronically homeless in dignity and is helping many move into more long-term, month-to-month housing. After more than two years in operation, over 500 people have participated in the program, with 75% being stably housed either at M4N or in other positive options. The Motels4Now initiative began when local tent encampments in the Monroe Park neighborhood triggered complaints from residents there. Sheila McCarthy, a member of St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker, is the director of Motels4Now. “We’ve had 615 guests here over three years,” she told NCR. “We’ve housed a lot of these people with Section 8 vouchers, and 140 have been housed permanently.”
Amistad CW Opens Home After DOT Clears Homeless Encampment
New Haven homeless encampment dismantled by CT DOT | fox61.com: In the wake of the death of a person struck by a train, the Connecticut Department of Transportation removed about 20 people living in a homeless encampment near the railroad tracks. The local FOX station interviewed Rico Jones of the Amistad Catholic Worker, which was present to help people during the eviction and provided shelter to about 10 of the displaced individuals.
Editorial Board Lauds Amistad House’s “Ideal of Compassion”
Editorial: Being better neighbors to the homeless | Middletown Press: The editorial board of the Middletown Press pointed to the example of Amistad Catholic Worker House (New Haven, Connecticut), which took in even more homeless people displaced by the Department of Transportation’s recent clearing of a homeless encampment, saying that the CW community “offered an ideal example of compassion for the rest of Connecticut.” After calling on the city and its suburbs to address the housing crisis, the editorial concludes: “Following the example of the Amistad Catholic Worker House is too much to ask, but every Connecticut town needs to be a better neighbor.”
Martha Hennessy on The Attentive Heart Podcast
Martha Hennessy sits down with Fr. John Gribowich on The Attentive Heart podcast to discuss growing up as Dorothy Day’s granddaughter, her decision to come back to the Church, her feelings about Day’s potential canonization, the Eucharistic revival, and more. Find it at the Sunday to Sunday website or at Spotify. On coming back to the Church, she says: “i always understood the social justice aspect of Dorothy in the Catholic Worker. But it had come to me that the faith foundation was what I had to resolve in my own mind, and of course, the Church is corrupt. But, there was the Madonna and child, you know, there was Jesus, baby Jesus, in the arms of Mary. How can I walk away from that? I don’t know. It’s hard to explain conversions.”
Viva House Co-Founder Brendan Walsh Honored by Classmates Who Fought in Vietnam War
Two Jesuit grads who fought in Vietnam honor their classmate who protested it | America Magazine: A long article profiling two classmates of Brendan Walsh, co-founder of Baltimore’s Viva House CW, who set out to honor him, despite their history of being on opposite sides of the Vietnam War. Walsh “Fifty-five years ago, three men were willing to die or go to prison for their vastly opposing views,” writes Michael Considine. “Today, one remains a pacifist; the other two continue to honor friends and academy classmates who died in Vietnam (and a Prep classmate, Eugene Pabst, who remains missing in action). While Mr. Geraghty and Mr. Bergen remain proud of their military service, by honoring Walsh’s contributions to a different life of service, they have found a way to heal old wounds and join him in a cause important to their alma mater and vital to the community.”
What Distinguishes the Catholic Worker
Carl Kline: The world — and all of us — would be better off if we cared for others instead of just trying to earn more | The South Dakota Standard: Columnist Carl Kline riffs on Peter Maurin’s easy essay, “The Case for Utopia,” by recalling the founding of the Mustard Seed Catholic Worker in the 1970s. “This naming of the principalities and powers, while performing the works of mercy, is one of the things that most distinguishes the Catholic Worker as a Christian community. There is an understanding that an economy beholden to the works of war will only have leftovers for the works of mercy. There is an understanding that Jesus declared a peaceable kingdom, rooted in love not only of neighbor, but also of enemy.”
The Prophetic Anarchy of Dorothy Day
On the prophetic anarchy of Dorothy Day | Catholic World Report: Larry Chapp (Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm, Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania) writes that Dorothy Day’s politics “a politics of anti-centralization that opposes the Leviathan of the outsized, modern centralized State and the bureaucratic apparatus that imposes itself with ever greater force upon all of us.” The article sparked a lively debate in the comment thread.
Dorothy Day, Worker for the Poor and Outcast
Dorothy Day: A worker for the poor and outcast | Our Sunday Visitor: Russell Shaw offers an abbreviated biography of Dorothy Day.
Margaret “Tanta” Quigley Garvey
From the obituary: “A devotee of Dorothy Day, Margaret founded in 1973 a Catholic Worker house in Davenport, Iowa, where she fed, clothed, and provided shelter to those in need. Countless guests there encountered her grit and goodness. In 1975, she met the inimitable Michael Garvey, with whom she would build a marriage and family rooted in their mutual call to love and hospitality. Their home became a gathering place for all manner of friends and colleagues, marked by the Rule of Saint Benedict: Let all guests be received as Christ.” Also of interest: Stories Without End | Notre Dame Magazine: Mike Baxter’s eulogy for Michael Garvey.
In a note to the Catholic Worker Listserv, Frank Cordaro writes: “Sure, here is the text with proper spelling, capitalization, and punctuation: “I met Margaret in the summer of 1975 at the Davenport Catholic Worker. I was a seminarian for the Diocese of Des Moines and was doing a summer internship at the Davenport Catholic Worker. Father Marv Mottet was my roommate. I met Dorothy Day with Margaret in New York City that summer. Margaret was a great mentor for me and many other Catholic Workers. She was the first woman my age whom I followed gladly.”
From the obituary: “In 1964, Ellen met and was influenced by Dorothy Day, becoming part of the first Catholic Worker House in Champaign-Urbana. She was active in Pax Christi and the Martin Luther King Jr. Advocacy for Justice Committee. In 2009, with other volunteers, she helped found the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, which still thrives, serving meals to almost 400 individuals on a daily basis. Known fondly to guests as ‘Miss Ellen,’ she initiated the organization’s assistance program, which has helped ensure hundreds of community members better access to employment, health care and independence.”
Mary M. Neagle
From the obituary: “Mary was deeply religious and active in her faith throughout her life. A member of the Catholic Worker Movement and the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Mary strongly supported civil rights and human rights, opening her home to inner city children during summers in the 60’s, and participating in protests during the Vietnam war in the 70s.”
Sugar Creek Midwest Catholic Worker Gathering
Sugar Creek Midwest Catholic Worker Gathering is September 7 – 10; RSVPs and volunteers are needed. Check the event listing for details.
New on CW.org
Pope Francis Plans Update to Laudato Si’
Numerous media outlets report that Pope Francis is writing a second part to his ground-breaking 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’. According to Vatican News, the new material will “update” the encyclical to reflect “current issues.”
Roundup of August 6 Anti-Nuke Actions
The Tablet offers a roundup of actions around the world commemorating the August 6 bombing of Hiroshima, including the prayer vigil led by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, D.C.
Catholic Bishops Form Partnership Seeking a World Free of Nuclear Weapons
The Catholic Archbishops of Santa Fe, Seattle, Nagasaki, and the Bishop of Hiroshima have formed a partnership to work for a nuclear-free world, setting goals for action to be taken by 2025. Read the statement here.