Greetings! In lieu of our traditional newsletter we have chosen to send you a more personal note this month. We realize that those of you who receive our mailings are deserving of an update about our community, and equally as important, we need to be reminded of your spiritual and emotional support for our work.
As you have read over the past months our community has struggled to attract and retain live-in volunteers to run our homes. Though we have shared this struggle in writing, there are often not words to describe the intimate nature of how our community functions. Indeed, we are more akin to a family than an organization, guided by common values and relationships instead of a board of directors. For over 22 years our community has survived, often thrived, in this Catholic Worker model, which has its roots in New York City in the 1930's. We have weathered some storms but always lived to tell the tale. This summer has proven to be one of our greatest hurdles yet, and this letter the mere beginning of a tale we are still writing.
For some months now we have put considerable effort into reaching out to friends and supporters to join us in the daily work of hospitality; this has yielded some beautiful results. Providing a welcoming space for our guests, however, has lately proven to be one of our lesser challenges. When an intentional community is at its best it requires effort to maintain and yet functions as a renewable energy source for those involved. We have not been healthy as a group and thus quickly burned through our reserves, losing members along the way. In the midst of our struggles we said goodbye to Laurie Watson who has been at the heart of our community for more than four years, often carrying much of the load herself. Her guidance and insight has long helped us set our course and though we miss her dearly she remains connected to our community while taking well deserved time for rejuvenation.
We found that the deeper we sank, the harder it was to reach out for help. The delicate art of building community is multi-faceted and, to many, intangible, but when it works well we create a life-giving space out of which we offer hospitality to those in need. Having come through some monumental challenges, our community is currently comprised of three people, none of whom live in the house, but all of whom have been deeply connected to the house for years.
We cannot express how much your support means to our community at this time. Whether you are someone who keeps us and our guests in your prayers, or you are a regular financial donor, or you are a former volunteer with our community, we could not have come through all of this without you. We know that we are not alone and that because of you our guests and friends will continue to have a place to come and share a meal. We are sincerely looking forward to the coming months and years because we know that this work is important, not only for our guests but for all of us. The Catholic Worker holds within it a little gem that feels like both a miracle and magic. It has great power when it gets taken out of the linen closet and dusted off. In this moment in our community the miracles abound and the magic is spreading like wildfire.
"We cannot love God unless we love each other. We know Him in the breaking of bread, and we know each other in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone anymore. Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet too, even with a crust, where there is companionship. We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community." (Dorothy Day)