A recent article in The Nation celebrates the hyper-local focus of new Catholic Worker communities. But is this really a “new” trend in the Catholic Worker? And more importantly, in the face of rampant militarism, is it enough by itself?
“With the passing years, I have come to see our work of hospitality at the Catholic Worker – this doing the works of mercy – as an ever-available antidote to despair, a practical pushback against the mercilessness of the day. A welcoming cup of coffee and pot of soup are tools for defying the trench mentality that sets in when belief in goodness wanes.” Claire Schaeffer-Duffy, a member of SS. Francis and Therese Catholic Worker in Worcester, Massachusetts, reflects on the Works of Mercy in a talk she gave at the 2022 Catholic Worker Gathering.
Various articles by Dorothy Day on the themes of war, pacifism, and the Catholic Worker positions on making peace.
Summary: Praises the persistent, peaceful, and gentle methods used to halt the eviction of peace activists in a Cincinnati house–“picketing, leafleting, resisting, speaking the truth.” Keywords: nonviolence (DDLW #556).The Catholic Worker, September 1975, 3.
Summary: Expresses her joy at the presence of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers union at a rally and fiesta in New York in support of the lettuce boycott. Applauds their non-violent approach and hopes it will be a leaven in the union movement. (The Catholic Worker, March-April 1973, 1, 4. DDLW #254).
Summary: Explains CW finances and why the CW refuses to apply for tax exempt status. Cites Ammon Hennacy and Karl Meyer’s tax resistance as nonviolent protest against war. Upholds the principle that governments should never do what small bodies can accomplish. (DDLW #191). The Catholic Worker, May 1972, 1,3,5.
Summary: Travels to Chicago and meets friends from the peace movement. Attends prayer meetings and especially appreciates a Taize community. Attends an Operation Bread Basket meeting. Visits Milwaukee and describes the work of Fr. Groppi, Michael Cullen, and others: Keywords: non-violence, resistance, Jesse Jackson, Ralph Abernathy, racism, housing. (DDLW #902). The Catholic Worker, October 1969, pp. 1,6,8
Summary: Detailed account of the strike of the United Farm Workers in California (Coachella Valley, Delano) led by Cesar Chavez and her visit to the West Coast. Reports on the strike movement and details the current strike climate and actions being taken. The strikers demands are explained and she calls on the readership to support the strikers in their fight. Keywords: non-violence, grape boycott (DDLW #899). The Catholic Worker, June 1969, pp. 1,5,7
Summary: Resists the “January doldrums” and writes about the continuing struggle of California farm workers. Tells of her visit to Sicily and England, giving details of the plane flights and her reasons for preferring planes over buses and ships. Praises the work of mercy of a disabled man. Keyword: nonviolence (DDLW #862). The Catholic Worker, February 1968, 2, 8.
Summary: While in Rome she takes a side trip to see the work of Danilo Dolci. She admires his techniques of organizing and energizing the poor to rebuild Sicili using experts, holding meetings and nonviolence, especially when resisting the mafia. Sees similarities to Peter Maurin’s approach. (DDLW #859). The Catholic Worker, December 1967, 2, 6.
Summary: A remembrance of her long and deep friendship with Mike Gold upon hearing of his death. Recounts their shared zeal for revolution in the 1910s, his anguish over the draft, and his support during the time of her conversion in the 1920s. Notes their differences over the use of violence, she a pacifist. Keywords: obituary (DDLW #853). The Catholic Worker, June 1967, 2, 8.
Summary: Brief commentary on a massive nonviolent demonstration against the Vietnam War led by Martin Luther King and Benjamin Spock. (DDLW #849).The Catholic Worker, May 1967, 1, 4.
Summary: Highlights progress in the grape strikes in California and efforts to organize in other parts of the country. Cesar Chavez visits the Catholic Worker and is admired for his non-violent methods. Advises readers to learn more about the struggle. (DDLW #920). The Catholic Worker, May 1967, 1, 9
Summary: Considers many things–books on scripture, help from the Christian Brothers, a sick roommate, war protests, economics and non-violence, the need to do work in line with the works of mercy. (DDLW #848). The Catholic Worker, March-April 1967, 2, 7, 8.
Summary: Reports on the farm workers strike against the DiGeorgio corporation and lauds the non-violent social movement to give “birth to the new order, the new heaven and new earth in which justice dwelleth.” (DDLW #841). The Catholic Worker, July-August 1966, 1, 3.
Summary: Recalls Peter Maurin’s philosophy of poverty and of work on this May Day issue of the paper. Grouses about old cars. Admires the Bill and Dorothy Gauchet’s hospitality to disabled and unwanted children. Laments the evils of the war in Vietnam. Praises the radical social critique of Saul Alinsky. Participates in a conference on nonviolence. Praises Cesar Chavez and the updates readers on the farm workers’ strike. (DDLW #839). The Catholic Worker, May 1966, 2, 6, 8.
Summary: A chronicle of the life of Cesar Chavez and his organizing work with the National Farm Workers Association. Admires his commitment to nonviolence, religious and moral values, and “hope and faith animated by love.” Says he is a man of vision and experience. Notes the CW’s long-time coverage of agricultural worker struggles. (DDLW #831). The Catholic Worker, February 1966, 1, 6.
Summary: While in Rome during the fourth session of Vatican Council II, she and a group of women fast and pray, aiming to influence the council deliberations on war and non-violence. Emphasizes the need for lay input in addressing the problems of the modern world. Describes her accommodations and dinners with bishops and friends. (DDLW #832). The Catholic Worker, October 1965, 1, 8.
Summary: Sees Franz Jagerstatter as a saint and martyr for conscientious objection and primacy of conscience. Capsules his life story. Keywords: saints, non-violence (DDLW #827).The Catholic Worker, June 1965, 4.
Summary: Urges direct action on behalf of the poor instead of just being critical of the clergy. Criticizes the bureaucracy of the War on Poverty and quotes from the Sermon on the Mount to stress the need for individual action, particularly in regards to helping African-Americans. Keywords: non-violence, voluntary poverty (DDLW #818). The Catholic Worker, September 1964, 2, 8. The Catholic Worker, September 1964, 2, 8.