6.4.1 The example of the Catholic Worker Movement

Back to 6.3.6

Unit 6 Contents

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

Two final readings in this unit will give us more than enough provocative food for thought about how family life can in practice be part of the Church’s radical mission and so contribute to the common good.

The first is chapter 10 in McCarthy’s book.  In it Kathy Magnus introduces an amazing movement founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in the time of the Great Depression in the 1930s and which is still going strong.  It is called the Catholic Worker Movement.

Before you read, have a look at this grainy YouTube clip of Dorothy Day explaining on a television programme in 1971 how the Movement got going.

———————————————————————————————

Video  (10 mins)

Dorothy Day interviewed on US television programme, ‘Christopher Closeup’, Oct. 1971

———————————————————————————————

Here is a much quoted statement by Dorothy Day:

An individual can march for peace or vote for peace and can have, perhaps, some small influence on global concerns. But the same individual is a giant in the eyes of a child at home. If peace is to be built, it must start with the individual. It is built brick by brick.1)

In the ‘Discussion’ section after Kathy Magnus’s outline of the Catholic Worker movement, McCarthy looks at one aspect of what its approach and practices might mean for what families do.

His heading is ‘Household Hospitality’ and he reflects on the way that, in general, households in US society have become strikingly unhospitable to strangers, unlike in many much less wealthy parts of the world.

———————————————————————————————

Reading  (12pp)

Kathy Dow Magnus, ‘Through the Needle’s Eye’, and McCarthy, ‘Discussion: Household Hospitality’ in McCarthy, ed., The Heart of Catholic Social Teaching, pp. 141-153

———————————————————————————————

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Reflection

Most students of this module will be British. To what extent do you recognize what McCarthy describes in how things typically are in the UK?

What about other countries you are familiar with?

Thinking more widely, what is your reaction to the suggestion this chapter is making that the radical practices of the Catholic Worker Movement can present models of how ordinary families can put into practice some of the things the gospel asks of us?

At the very least, how might the practice of hospitality in your own household be extended, especially to people who don’t often receive a real welcome into others’ homes?  Where you live and work, who are such people?

Of course, the challenge presented here can prove far from easy.  In order to ensure our practice is wise and is not just asking for trouble, what issues, for example of safety, should we make sure we address?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

– 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

End of 6.4.1

Go to 6.4.2 Practices for Christian families

 

Copyright © Newman University.  If you wish to quote from this page, see Citation Information. N.B. If you are a student and make use of material on this page in an assignment, you are obliged to reference the source in line with the citation information.


  1. I have not discovered the source of this quotation.  (If you know it, please let me know. 

Go to Top