The Catholic Worker at 90
As the Catholic Worker Movement turns 90, we take a look back at its origins…and a look forward toward its future.
Today is the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Catholic Worker Movement. To celebrate, I’ve collected here some pertinent readings: a few that look to the past, to the Catholic Worker’s beginnings and some of its significant milestones; and a few that look toward the future, reprinted from the latest issue of the Los Angeles Catholic Worker’s Agitator.
Here is Jim Forest’s account of the day that the Catholic Worker was “born” in New York City’s Union Square, plus Dorothy’s lengthier account of the events leading up to that day (from the Foreward to House of Hospitality); her essay for the 25th anniversary (“Workers of the World Unite”); ; and her “On Pilgrimage” column for the fortieth anniversary (May 1973).
May Day, 1933
House of Hospitality: Foreword
Workers of the World Unite
Summary: Celebrates the 25th anniversary of the C.W. Perceives freedom as the greatest gift to man from God, and advocates a four hour work day, child labor, private property as personal property and manual labor. Personalism works from the bottom up and reminds her readers that Jesus told people, not states, to perform works of mercy. (DDLW #177). The Catholic Worker, May 1958, 1,3,11.
On Pilgrimage (May 1973)
Summary: Series of reflections on the occasion of their 40th anniversary. Laments little time to read, recalls the books Peter Maurin recommended and his constant agitating. Notes the primacy of conscience, defends critics of the Pope, and the need for Christ rooms. Keywords: Philosophy of the CW, obedience, folly of the cross (DDLW #529). The Catholic Worker, May 1973, 1, 8.
Looking to the future
For its April issue, the L.A. Catholic Worker’s Agitator published a series of guest essays reflecting on the future of the Catholic Worker Movement. We’re grateful to have received permission to reprint them here.