Rosalie Stops By

I was thrilled if a little shy in meeting Rosalie Riegle, a prominent writer and activist in the Catholic Worker movement. She shared not only a meal with us, but a lot of practical advice and illuminating stories. I loved how much she had to share about Dorothy Day, one of the founders of the CW movement. But I especially appreciate that it is amazing people like her who have kept the movement growing and thriving to the present day.

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Some of our community members were able to see her speak at Xavier University this week. In a presentation entitled “Walking with Dorothy Day: The Catholic Worker Story”, she highlighted moments from Dorothy Day’s biography that have wisdom for the movement today.  The presentation touched on Dorothy’s relationship to the church, her view of the poor, and her understanding of personalism in action.  Yet Rosalie spoke not just as an academic but first as a Catholic Worker, since she is the co-founder of a Catholic Worker community in Saginaw, Michigan not unlike Lydia’s House.  She served there for 10 years, and it was during this time that she also published some of her four books about the Catholic Worker movement, the peace movement, and faith in action.

It was even better having the chance to sit down with her and have her experience our home. Here I’ll note that while I was in the discernment process of volunteering at Lydia’s House, I realized that most of my knowledge of the CW movement was either too broad and academic, or too limited by the small number of CW houses in which I’ve actually spent a good amount of time. Her article “The Catholic Worker in 2014: An Appreciation” was one of the pieces I read that gave me a good idea of the beautiful variety that exists within the movement today. So she had already made an impression on me. Reading her books can teach us a lot about how we want to proceed at Lydia’s House, but there is something transformative about sitting down in person to absorb the wisdom of someone who has been doing something much longer than you have. Her willingness to share her many stories and answer our many questions with grace is truly a blessing for us, and amazing considering the amount of time she spends answering the questions of other workers in other cities on her travels.Since the Catholic Worker movement is non-hierarchical, it is imperative that these gatherings, stories, and bits of wisdom are passed from person to person with love. We learn not only from our own mistakes and successes, but from the experiences of those who work differently than we do.

I am left with the impression that I have become involved in a community that consists of not only one house in one neighborhood, but of a web of people all over the world who are struggling and loving and engaging their own neighborhoods and giving one another insight into how to engage theirs. I am equal parts exhausted in knowing how much I have to learn and excited knowing how much I can still do.

http://www.themontrealreview.com/2009/The-Catholic-Worker-Movement.php

Written by Rachel Kohl, Associate Volunteer at Lydia’s House

Kinship, Community, and Greg Boyle

This past Thursday, the Lydia’s House community (core volunteers, current and past guests, friends, and board members) attended a presentation by Greg Boyle at Xavier University’s Bellarmine Chapel.  We were inspired by his call to compassion and particularly moved by his challenge to enter into kinship with others.  As he said, service is just the entryway into the grand ballroom, and the grand ballroom is a place where everyone belongs and everyone matters to one another.  He put words to so much of who we strive to be together.  Our time with him was especially meaningful since our community read his book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.  Yes, we are grateful for his inspiration and his wisdom, while we also question whether it is truly all joyful for him, as he ended by saying.  The work he does is hard.  The work we do is hard.  There is joy, yes, but there is also deep sorrow.  During a time of transition in the house as guests both leave and arrive, please keep Lydia’s House in your prayers that we may create a place of true kinship when we all need it most.

Monthly Worship: Episcopal Moveable Feast

On the heels of our successful Women for Women fundraiser on Saturday, about 30 people from around the city gathered in the Lydia’s House dining room on Sunday, September 28 for our monthly worship.

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Led by the Rev. Jane Gerdsen, a board member and friend of Lydia’s House, we shared in fellowship, conversation, and Eucharist.

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Each month, the Fresh Expressions program through the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio sponsors a “Moveable Feast,” choosing to dialogue and worship at various places of impact around the city.

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We were blessed to feast together at Lydia’s House as we dialogued about accompaniment.  We asked each other the questions: What does it mean to accompany one another?  What are the limiting beliefs that hold us back from mutuality?  How can we enlarge our hearts to participate in God’s dream for community?