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faith & spirituality | homelessness

Easy Essay: Houses of Hospitality

Peter Maurin's poems and essays are published in The Catholic Worker. Together with Dorothy Day, he established soup kitchens and houses of hospitality in the time of the Great Depression.
Easy Essay

Parish Houses of Hospitality

By Peter Maurin

[Published in The Catholic Worker, August-September 2003, Price 1 cent)

Today we need Houses of Hospitality
as much as they needed them then,
if not more so.
We have Parish Houses for the priests,
Parish Houses for educational purposes,
but no Parish Houses of Hospitality.
Bosseut says that the poor
are the first children of the church,
so the poor should come first.
People with homes should
have a room of hospitality,
so as to give shelter
to the needy members
of the parish.

The remaining needy
members of the parish
should be given shelter in a Parish Home.
Furniture, clothing and food
should be sent to the needy
members of the parish
at the Parish House of Hospitality.

We need Parish Homes
as well as Parish Domes.
In the new Cathedral of Liverpool
there will be a Home
as well as a Dome.
So people no longer consider
hospitality to the poor
as a personal duty.
And it does not disturb them a bit
to send them to the city,
where they are given the hospitality of the "Muni"
at the expense of the taxpayer.

But the hospitality that the
"Muni" gives to the down and out
is no hospitality
because what comes from the
taxpayer's pocketbook
does not come from their heart.
So hospitality like everything else,
has been commercialized.
So hospitality like everything else,
must be idealized.


He said not
Thou shalt not be troubled *
Thou shalt not be tempted *
Thou shalt not be distressed *
But He said
Thou shalt not
Be overcome.

Julian of Norwich

Faith Matters

[On July 14, 2003. Tadeo "Spike" Zywicki left this life to continue his travel elsewhere. He was 91 years old. Printed below is the last of many letters sent to the Catholic Worker. We will miss Spike-Eds. Note.]

Dear Braintrust,

It is with trepidation that I approach this serious thinking board to suggest the editorial push for the public notice of the sanctity of our late co-worker. It is time for the official recognition of the personhood and the sanctity of our Dorothy Day: a woman, and to my mind The Woman picked by God to bring the salvation message of eternity before the world.

In God's usual fashion the lines are written straight, but to us mortals, appear crooked. It is a matter of faith that God writes straight with crooked lines. In a time when all the world is reeling with dissatisfaction, it is time to put into focus the message of Jesus Christ Who taught us the lesson of peace. Today we have the modern world and the answer is not there. That picture of Dorothy Day seated at a demonstration in California, gun toting marshal guarding her, is the epitome, as she calmly awaits arrest in the cause of just wages for farm workers. Yeah! We gotta get on the ball and put to good (God's) used our knowledge and experience. I trust The Catholic Worker grabs the ball and runs with it for a winning tussle of faith in God!
I do hope you give this note serious consideration.
In Jesus Christ
Tadeo "Spike" Zywicki

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