Seeking Full Time Volunteer for St. Jude

St. Jude Catholic Worker House seeks a full time, live in volunteer for winter 2012/2013 and beyond. The role would include helping provide services and support to people living in the house and those coming to it, as well as helping to maintain the worker house day to day. We focus on helping women and children, but provide general hospitality to all. An interested party should be familiar with the mission of the Catholic Worker Movement and be experienced with working with homeless and marginalized communities, as well as have lived in communal housing situations before. We are a close group, so we need someone who will fit in well, without creating disruptions. We are dog friendly, but not accepting folks with any other kind of pet. For more information, please contact us at 

Fall at St. Judes…

Greetings Friends,
after a little bit of an internet hiatus, we are back on the blog/email situation. Feel free to reach us here or contact us at
There’s been some friends who have left the house for a while and some new ones that have come, but our mission and dedication continue. The house is very full of people, their stories, their laughter, and the love, and it continues to inspire and uplift us all what folks can do when they come together.
Big projects have been happening! The yard has been getting a solid clean up, along with the garage and the annex. Going into the winter it’s very exciting to see our home looking so good, and to have so many great projects ongoing that will help us better serve our fellow humans. Also the Experimental Writing Workshops have restarted, and brought already very interesting work and discussions. More on these projects, and others that are developing, in the very near future.
For now, we do want to put it out there in the digital world that our beloved PT Cruiser, pictured below, is not enough for what we do. Simply put, it takes up too much gas and cant haul enough stuff for our needs. We are asking anyone in the area who would have a reliable truck, van or suv they would be willing to part with to please contact us, as we would be very interested in getting a second vehicle that can really haul stuff (and us).
As always we are looking for volunteers to help with any of the projects we do around here, as well as catholic workers interested in being live in volunteers.
We are also seeking donations of towels, tools, bricks, soaps (all kinds), seeds, toilet paper (always), a working blender, definitely blankets, warm layers (it’s that time of year), and of course the vehicle mentioned above.
Thanks so much for reading this, and come visit us! Thursday nights are our house dinner, and all are welcome (generally we start around 7:30).
Much love and solidarity,
St. Jude Catholic Worker Community

Summer volunteers needed

Seeking (2) residential volunteers for June-July, 2012

Who We Are

The St. Jude CWH community is diverse & inclusive. We see ourselves as a living organism, a human community: from the person who donates a case of apples, to the guests attending our weekly community dinner, working in the garden, or picking up trash in the yards.

Our desire is to to build community as an antidote to the individualism of the dominant culture. Through our work, we begin to live as a healing community, a body of people seeking healing from the brokenness of our world. We welcome guests into our house (primarily women & children) to be part of that life. Cultivating personal relationships with guests, who come looking for food, shelter, friendship, and a sense of belonging, is an essential element in building a new society in the shell of the old.

What We Are Looking For

 Residential volunteers (RV’s) live full time at the house and provide hospitality to women and children, as well as assist with the daily needs of the house and other projects. We are interested in finding folks who are social-justice minded who are interested in serving Champaign-Urbana’s homeless and marginalized, enjoy shared labor, and engaging with strangers who come to the door.

A typical day might include:

  • engaging and assisting guests
  • answering the phone and taking messages
  • general chores — sweeping, dishes, laundry
  • picking up recovered and discarded food
  • physical labor — garden work, repairs, heavy-duty cleaning projects, etc.
  • community engagement — working with other groups and individuals on larger community projects
  • shared meals, recreation, and relaxation!

Summer residential volunteers would be asked to make a two month commitment (June and July) to living in and working at the house. During this time, we would ask that any outside time commitments be limited. If you have a part-time job, we can try to work around your schedule, but if you have a full-time job or commitment, this would not be a good fit, as we are especially interested in people being around and available in the daytime. For your time and work at the house, we can provide a room and board (you’re welcome to anything in our kitchen!). Unfortunately, because our house runs solely off of the generosity of our extended community, we are unable to provide any monetary compensation or stipend. It must be completely understood that this volunteer commitment is for two months only: we may not have the space available to keep volunteers on past July. We would ask that you come in with a concrete plan for August. However, if it seems like you would be a good fit for the community, and you show a genuine interest and ability to make a long-term commitment, we would be open to a conversation about the potentially staying longer.

If interested, please contact Laurel through email: Please give a short description of yourself and your interest in volunteering, as well as contact info.


back by popular demand

fun, challenging, creative, open to anyone & everyone!
Saturday, June 2
@ the Catholic Worker House Annex
314 Cottage Ct Champaign

Probably free bagels, muffins, &c.
Free your mind & the bagels will follow.

RSVP to theaustinmccann[at]gmail,

Some of this week’s challenges:
“HERE’S TO … “

Aims and Means of the Catholic Worker


Reprinted from The Catholic Worker newspaper, May 2008

The aim of the Catholic Worker movement is to live in accordance with the justice and charity of Jesus Christ. Our sources are the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures as handed down in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, with our inspiration coming from the lives of the saints, “men and women outstanding in holiness, living witnesses to Your unchanging love.” (Eucharistic Prayer)

This aim requires us to begin living in a different way. We recall the words of our founders, Dorothy Day who said, “God meant things to be much easier than we have made them,” and Peter Maurin who wanted to build a society “where it is easier for people to be good.”

* * *

When we examine our society, which is generally called capitalist (because of its methods of producing and controlling wealth) and is bourgeois (because of prevailing concern for acquisition and material interests, and its emphasis on respectability and mediocrity), we find it far from God’s justice.

In economics, private and state capitalism bring about an unjust distribution of wealth, for the profit motive guides decisions. Those in power live off the sweat of others’ brows, while those without power are robbed of a just return for their work. Usury (the charging of interest above administrative costs) is a major contributor to the wrongdoing intrinsic to this system. We note, especially, how the world debt crisis leads poor countries into greater deprivation and a dependency from which there is no foreseeable escape. Here at home, the number of hungry and homeless and unemployed people rises in the midst of increasing affluence.

In labor, human need is no longer the reason for human work. Instead, the unbridled expansion of technology, necessary to capitalism and viewed as “progress,” holds sway. Jobs are concentrated in productivity and administration for a “high-tech,” war-related, consumer society of disposable goods, so that laborers are trapped in work that does not contribute to human welfare. Furthermore, as jobs become more specialized, many people are excluded from meaningful work or are alienated from the products of their labor. Even in farming, agribusiness has replaced agriculture, and, in all areas, moral restraints are run over roughshod, and a disregard for the laws of nature now threatens the very planet.

In politics, the state functions to control and regulate life. Its power has burgeoned hand in hand with growth in technology, so that military, scientific and corporate interests get the highest priority when concrete political policies are formulated. Because of the sheer size of institutions, we tend towards government by bureaucracy–that is, government by nobody. Bureaucracy, in all areas of life, is not only impersonal, but also makes accountability, and, therefore, an effective political forum for redressing grievances, next to impossible.

In morals, relations between people are corrupted by distorted images of the human person. Class, race and sex often determine personal worth and position within society, leading to structures that foster oppression. Capitalism further divides society by pitting owners against workers in perpetual conflict over wealth and its control. Those who do not “produce” are abandoned, and left, at best, to be “processed” through institutions. Spiritual destitution is rampant, manifested in isolation, madness, promiscuity and violence.

The arms race stands asa clear sign of the direction and spirit of our age. It has extended the domain of destruction and the fear of annihilation, and denies the basic right to life. There is a direct connection between the arms race and destitution. “The arms race is an utterly treacherous trap, and one which injures the poor to an intolerable degree.” (Vatican II)

* * *

In contrast to what we see around us, as well as within ourselves, stands St. Thomas Aquinas’ doctrine of the Common Good, a vision of a society where the good of each member is bound to the good of the whole in the service of God.

To this end, we advocate:

Personalism, a philosophy which regards the freedom and dignity of each person as the basis, focus and goal of all metaphysics and morals. In following such wisdom, we move away from a self-centered individualism toward the good of the other. This is to be done by taking personal responsibility for changing conditions, rather than looking to the state or other institutions to provide impersonal “charity.” We pray for a Church renewed by this philosophy and for a time when all those who feel excluded from participation are welcomed with love, drawn by the gentle personalism Peter Maurin taught.

–A decentralized society, in contrast to the present bigness of government, industry, education, health care and agriculture. We encourage efforts such as family farms, rural and urban land trusts, worker ownership and management of small factories, homesteading projects, food, housing and other cooperatives–any effort in which money can once more become merely a medium of exchange, and human beings are no longer commodities.

–A “green revolution,” so that it is possible to rediscover the proper meaning of our labor and/or true bonds with the land; a distributist communitarianism, self-sufficient through farming, crafting and appropriate technology; a radically new society where people will rely on the fruits of their own toil and labor; associations of mutuality, and a sense of fairness to resolve conflicts.

* * *

We believe this needed personal and social transformation should be pursued by the means Jesus revealed in His sacrificial love. With Christ as our Exemplar, by prayer and communion with His Body and Blood, we strive for practices of

Nonviolence. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” (Matt. 5:9) Only through nonviolent action can a personalist revolution come about, one in which one evil will not be replaced simply by another. Thus, we oppose the deliberate taking of human life for any reason, and see every oppression as blasphemy. Jesus taught us to take suffering upon ourselves rather than inflict it upon others, and He calls us to fight against violence with the spiritual weapons of prayer, fasting and noncooperation with evil. Refusal to pay taxes for war, to register for conscription, to comply with any unjust legislation; participation in nonviolent strikes and boycotts, protests or vigils; withdrawal of support for dominant systems, corporate funding or usurious practices are all excellent means to establish peace.

The works of mercy (as found in Matt. 25:31-46) are at the heart of the Gospel and they are clear mandates for our response to “the least of our brothers and sisters.” Houses of hospitality are centers for learning to do the acts of love, so that the poor can receive what is, in justice, theirs, the second coat in our closet, the spare room in our home, a place at our table. Anything beyond what we immediately need belongs to those who go without.

Manual labor, in a society that rejects it as undignified and inferior. “Besides inducing cooperation, besides overcoming barriers and establishing the spirit of sister and brotherhood (besides just getting things done), manual labor enables us to use our bodies as well as our hands, our minds.” (Dorothy Day) The Benedictine motto Ora et Labora reminds us that the work of human hands is a gift for the edification of the world and the glory of God.

Voluntary poverty. “The mystery of poverty is that by sharing in it, making ourselves poor in giving to others, we increase our knowledge and belief in love.” (Dorothy Day) By embracing voluntary poverty, that is, by casting our lot freely with those whose impoverishment is not a choice, we would ask for the grace to abandon ourselves to the love of God. It would put us on the path to incarnate the Church’s “preferential option for the poor.”

* * *

We must be prepared to accept seeming failure with these aims, for sacrifice and suffering are part of the Christian life. Success, as the world determines it, is not the final criterion for judgments. The most important thing is the love of Jesus Christ and how to live His truth.

What the Catholic Worker Believes


An Easy Essay by Peter Maurin

The Catholic Worker believes in the gentle personalism of traditional Catholicism.
The Catholic Worker believes in the personal obligation of looking after the needs of our brother.
The Catholic Worker believes in the daily practice of the Works of Mercy.
The Catholic Worker believes in the Houses of Hospitlaity for the immediate relief of those who are in need.
The Catholic Worker believes in the establishment of Farrming Communes where each one works according to his ability and gets according to his need.
The Catholic Worker believes in creating a new society within the shell of the old with the philosophy of the new, which is not a new philosophy but a very old philosophy, a philosophy so old that it looks like new.