Looking to the Future of the St. Jude Catholic Worker Community

Late last summer 2014 the Christian Social Action Forum Board [CSAF] asked all but one of the residential volunteers and all guests to move out of the two houses of the St. Jude Catholic Worker. [We were con- cerned about instability in the volunteer community and felt St. Jude had wandered from its roots.] In collaboration with CU@home, one long-term guest with two children moved into her own home. CSAF subsidized the first six months of utilities. A second guest, one who has lived in the House for about 5 years has stayed along with volunteer Dave Powers, who has become a remarkable center for rebuilding St. Jude. [See his article in this newsletter.]

A fellow friend of the Worker House, Pat Fettig, suggest- ed we rename the Annex, the Dorothy Day Center for Contemplation and Action—a name that very much reflects! With the help of Pat Knowles we completely cleaned the space to make it hospitable to outside gatherings. Right now the Center is more focused on Contemplation than Action—all in its time. The core of the CW community is small but the embryonic growth we hoped might happen is occurring.

We hold weekly Saturday morning meetings at 10 a.m. in the Dorothy Day Center [314 Cottage Court] to discuss the aims and means of the Catholic Worker in the context of the activities of the two houses. All are welcome who are interested in being part of this extended community—please let us know [stjudecatholicworker@gmail.com] if you want to be notified if there is any change in meeting time—we occasionally have had to cancel [rare]. Dave brings homemade bread—often just out of the oven and we have coffee and tea. The conversations are important, as is the work to build a common framework for the role of these two Catholic Worker houses in the Champaign- Urbana community.

Leigh Estabrook, Member, Christian Social Action Forum Board and Friend of St. Jude leighe@gmail.com

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