On May 1, 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression, The Catholic Worker newspaper made its debut with a first issue of twenty-five hundred copies. Dorothy Day and a few others hawked the paper in Union Square for a penny a copy (still the price) to passersby.
The Catholic Worker Movement is grounded in a firm belief in the God-given dignity of every human person. Today over 185 Catholic Worker communities remain committed to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer, and hospitality for the homeless, exiled, hungry, and foresaken. Catholic Workers continue to protest injustice, war, racism, and violence of all forms. The Catholic Worker Movement began on May 1, 1933 when a journalist named Dorothy Day and a philosopher named Peter Maurin got together to publish the first edition of The Catholic Worker newspaper, which examined politics, culture, economics and daily living in the context of biblical ideals like justice, mercy, compassion, and peace.
Grounded in the firm belief in the God-given dignity of every human person, the movement embraced nonviolence, voluntary poverty and the “Works of Mercy” as a way of life. Soon they were putting their beliefs into action – opening a “house of hospitality” where the homeless, the hungry, and the forsaken would always be welcome.
Today there are over 150 Catholic Worker communities around the world dedicated to living the social dimension of the Gospel by serving and living with the impoverished, struggling for social and economic justice, and working for peace.
The Gainesville Catholic Worker started in October 2000, when a group of us rented a small house in the Pleasant Street Neighborhood. We began serving breakfasts at area labor pools at the request of day laborers, preparing and serving a weekly meal for homeless people at the St. Francis House Homeless Shelter, and offering overnight hospitality to people who needed shelter. We bought our current house in July 2004, expanding our ministries and hosting an intentional, live-in community of students, formerly homeless men and women, and others, welcoming our first guest in September of that year.
We are inspired by the model of early Christian communities and by the witness of Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin and Catholic Worker communities throughout the U.S. We strive to live as an intentional, faith-based community committed to a life of prayer, scripture study and culture critique; to stand in solidarity with those who are impoverished; to live simply and engage in an alternative economy rooted in biblical principles; to resist the violence and injustice of our culture through public witness and protest; to offer space for alternative discipleship formation and deeper theological reflection.
Dorothy Day’s life and legacy is a radical movement, faithful to the Gospel and the church, immersed in the social issues of the day, with the aim of transforming both individuals and society. In an age marked by widespread violence, impersonal government, shallow interpersonal commitments, and a quest for self-fulfillment, Dorothy Day’s spirit fosters nonviolence, personal responsibility of all people to the poorest ones among us, and fidelity to community and to God. READ MORE