Lydia’s House draws inspiration primarily from The Catholic Worker Movement, founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in 1933. Grounded in a firm belief in the God-given dignity of every human person, more than 185 modern-day Catholic Worker communities remain committed to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer, and hospitality for the homeless, exiled, hungry, and forsaken. Inspiration has also come from the Church of the Saviour community in Washington, DC and the New Monastic movement, both models of ways to practice faith that have influenced our own choices and whose members have served as mentors and co-travelers.
These commitments define who we are and why we do what we do. When we make decisions we turn to these principles either explicitly or implicitly to guide us. As we work to open the house, these values will shape how volunteers, in house workers and guests interact with one another.
We could not hope to do the works of mercy day in and day out without the strength and encouragement found in community. In fact, the hospitality we offer to others is an outgrowth of the faith, hope, and love shared and fostered in healthy relationships grounded in the Christian faith. We place ourselves in the context of a larger intentional Christian community, Vineyard Central in West Norwood, and in proximity to our own worshiping communities: Bellarmine Chapel of Xavier and Church of the Advent of Walnut Hills. We seek also to grow a network of support and love around Lydia’s House, full of people who find home here even if they don’t live on site.
We seek to live at a level that is mindful of our brothers and sisters in need and believe in the fair distribution of resources. As such, we will be conscious of our needs verses our wants and at times we will have less in order to share with the guests of Lydia’s House. We understand that solidarity is a tricky concept when it comes to those that have and those that have not, but we will work at reducing the gap by eating meals together, shopping at the same thrift stores, sharing transportation and generally seeking to live life together, as opposed to seeing our guests as wholly separate from ourselves.
Hospitality implies a degree of radical openness. This means that we open our doors to those in need of shelter, food and friendship as well as our hearts to all we encounter, keeping in mind that the face of Christ is reflected in each person.
God has been generous to us. In thanksgiving for the gift of creation in general and for the outpouring of love and support received from God through the work of human hands in particular, we emphasize the practice of stewardship. We will take care of our house by maintaining it with prompt repairs, returning things to their proper places, and always keeping in mind the next person that will come along to use the many gifts we share. This also means we will make conscious decisions about caring for the earth in our daily lives and decisions about our transportation choices, our water and energy resources, and our consumption and discarding of food.
Our work is grounded in our faith in a generous and merciful God. Therefore we trust that God’s providence will continue to provide for the needs of our community and our guests and we recognize that God has endless mercy on us as we carry on in a compassionate and forgiving way with our guests and all those we encounter.
We are committed to nonviolence in all things, practicing it in our personal relationships with one another, with all guests, with our neighbors and with the world at large.