Women for Women A Success!

This past Saturday, September 27, Maria Krzeski and her family graciously opened their home and their hearts to 70+ women supporters of Lydia’s House.  At the second annual Women for Women event, all those gathered spent time celebrating the work of Lydia’s House, praying for its future, and contributing in small and large ways to this shared work of hospitality.

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Sister Rose Ann Fleming offered a beautiful opening prayer, drawing upon the inspiration of St. Lydia and her simple but profound hospitality that she extended to Paul and Silas after her baptism into Christianity.

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The Muse Cincinnati Women’s Choir added beauty and song to our evening, helping us go deeper into prayer for the present and future guests of Lydia’s House.  Thank you Muse!

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Resident Volunteer Elizabeth Coyle spoke of her experience thus far as a live-in volunteer, highlighting the joys and challenges that our guests face.  She invited each participant to allow her heart to expand by letting in the lives of the poor.

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We are so very grateful for our many friends and supporters, and we know this work would not be possible without them!

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During this celebration and fundraiser, Lydia’s House raised almost $12,000!  This was our goal as we asked attendees to support us in sustaining the food budget in 2015.  Thanks to these amazing women and their families, the guests and friends of Lydia’s House will be eating healthy, delicious food throughout this next year.  We feel beyond blessed!

 

Inspiration for the Day

Each morning for the past month, I (Elizabeth) get up, make some coffee, and read The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day before I start the rest of my day.  Dorothy Day co-founded the Catholic Worker movement, and so we draw inspiration from her, even 40+ years after her death.  This quote from Day seems to capture well the work we try to do daily here at Lydia’s House:

What we would like to do is change the world–make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, the poor, of the destitute–the rights of the worthy and the unworthy poor, in other words–we can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world. We repeat, there is nothing we can do but love, and, dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as our friend.

Thank you Dorothy Day for continuing to be a conversation partner for us in the hard, good work.

A Final Word from Our Summer Intern

This post was written by our summer intern Taffany Duggins.  We are grateful for the ways she made our community better, and we look forward to seeing the new ways she will find to bless Lydia’s House with her many gifts.

What is community?  Community is often defined as a group of people living together in the same place or having particular characteristics in common.  Community can also mean a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.  Lydia’s House is a combination of both of these.  We live together in the same place, and we have some of the same characteristics in common.  However, our community extends outside of our home; there is this great big group of people from far and wide that have a sense of fellowship, interests, and shared goals for Lydia’s House.  Since I have been staying here at the house, I have seen so much community from people other than those that live here.  People take time out of their busy schedules to volunteer for house duty or drive out of their way to pick someone up from our house retreat to get them to work on time.  Donors have stepped up to make sure that someone has clothes when at first they had none at all.

This brings me to retreat time.  I have been on two in the last month: one with the whole house and one as a personal retreat.  There has been a lot of reflection for all of us here at the house.  For me, the time of reflection has been an opportunity to grow spiritually and in many personal ways. With the hustle and bustle of every day, I think that sometimes we forget how much God really has a hand in what we are all doing.  We forget when we are impatient for things to be done that it is not in our time but in God’s time.  I am really starting to see this here at Lydia’s House. Things have not worked out in some of the ways that I wanted them to, but other doors have opened for me that I never thought would open.  I have learned that, for the first time in my life, I live and belong in a community.  The things you hear around the Lydia’s House dinner table will make you laugh and cry as we share our goals, interests, and our pasts.  There is never a dull moment here at the house, and it works for us.  It has not worked for some former guests, but I am learning that it is okay because God still has us all.  What works for us may not work for all, yet former guests will one day find their own community.

This brings me to my internship, which ended August 15th.  I would like to say some about what I have learned.  The number one thing I have learned is how great of a community Lydia’s House really is.  There is so much genuine love for not just the guests but for everyone that comes through the door.  I also learned how much I can really do to help others and to advocate for them.  Some things I accomplished during my internship were creating an incentive program from scratch with the help of regular volunteer Laura Menze.  The incentive program was created for the guests to earn rewards for all of the hard work they are doing while staying here at the house.  I also have created a resource manual for all of the residents as well as volunteers to use.  Things in the manual range from housing to jobs to getting legal help and where to go to get birth certificates and IDs for free.  I also worked with Mary Ellen on how to cut back on the grocery bill every week.

Life here in this community has been a great experience for me and has taught me how much a community can really love and care for someone with no strings attached.  I watch this with Mary Ellen, Meridith, and Elizabeth as they put in countless hours of service for free to help woman and children out each and every day, even when they are no longer current guests here in the house.  I never really knew how much time each one of them really put into all the hard work that is done to keep the house afloat.  I see the struggles that these ladies face that most in our community do not get to see.  I see the hurt and the joy that they experience, and I am so grateful to be able to learn something new from each of them.

As I end my stay here at Lydia’s House, I challenge those on the outside that have just read this to step up and really join the community of Lydia’s House and share the love and joy and sorrow that not just the guests experience but also the three woman that help keep this great community going.

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What is the Catholic Worker Movement?

Lydia’s House was founded in the Catholic Worker tradition and draws continued inspiration from the co-founders of that movement, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, as well as other Catholic Worker communities around the country.  For example, Meridith and Mary Ellen first were drawn to this work of hospitality at the Open Door Catholic Worker in Atlanta, Georgia.  Today, the movement is diverse, wide-reaching, and varied in the implementation of its vision.  To learn more, take the quiz below – answers are forthcoming!

 

Catholic Worker Quiz

1. What’s the guiding scripture for Catholic Workers

a) John 3.16 b) Revelation, all of it c) Matthew 25

2. Which is not a work of mercy a) feeding the hungry b) visiting the sick c) clothing the naked d)

shaming the weird

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3. Dorothy Day was deeply critical of _____________ A) dog ownership b) ice cream eating c)

charity as a means of concealing and thus perpetuating injustices.

4. Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin championed _________________ which they defined as the

practice of caring for the poor at a personal sacrifice. A) constitutionalism b)pragmatism c)

personalism

5. Which of the following could be a Catholic Worker House a) a home that provides short term

lodging and meals for family members when they come to visit a relative on death row b) a

multi million dollar operation that has several transitional homes, daily mass and a newspaper

that circulates to 50,000 c) a single family home with a Christ room that welcomes one homeless

person at a time d) all of the above

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6. The peculiar unifying genius of the Catholic Worker Movement lies in the fact that everyone can

practice a) works of mercy b) hula hooping c) unicycle riding

7. By embracing the poverty of simplicity Day and Maurin believed people could create a world in

which no one would be a)sun burned b) destitute c)bored

8. Day had a vivid sense of the liturgy’s capacity to ______________ the social order. a)confuse b)

transform c)reinforce

9. Catholic Workers have been deeply involved in a number of social movements and church

reform initiatives including a) calling for women’s ordination b) calling for an end to war c)

calling for full inclusion of Gays and Lesbians d) all of the above

10. Michael Boxter said “The Catholic Worker is a not a liberal movement, it is a

___________movement. Radicals say “The homeless aren’t being fed. Let’s feed them.” a)

hysterical b)improvisational c) radical

11. Dorothy Day advocated for the _____________ way and urged houses to stay as small as

possible. a) little b) dirty c)disorganized

12. Dorothy Day counseled followers to craft their own communities in response to ____________

needs and she passed on excess donations from the New York Catholic Worker to these

fledgling communities. a)local b)global c)extraterrestrial