WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Seventy-fifth anniversary or not, lunch still must be served at the New York Catholic Worker's Maryhouse. Hungry people will be waiting, as they are every day.
Jane Sammon knows the routine: hospitality, meals, conversation, responding in whatever way possible to people in need. She's been at Maryhouse for nearly 36 years, arriving in the summer of 1972 from Cleveland to live a life of voluntary poverty and personal sacrifice with a deep commitment to the works of mercy. It's a way of life many admire but few venture to try.
Maryhouse is a place where the world is made better for people "little by little," as Catholic Worker co-founder Dorothy Day often would say, recalling the example of St. Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus. It's a place where people are readily welcomed and their human dignity is uplifted. Day wanted a place where Christ would feel at home.
"It's an amazing thing that really has very little to do with us," said Sammon, 60. "It's the grace of God that keeps us going."
Author Jim Forest, who worked alongside Day in New York in the 1960s and 1970s and has written extensively about her life, relates a story reflecting her view about the movement's future. Asked in 1973 if she thought the movement would survive her, Day answered, "Why shouldn't it? It has already survived more than 40 years of me."
Heh. I think I would have liked Dorothy.