Catholic Worker odds & ends
Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "personalist" journal:
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Homosexuality at the Catholic Worker by Judith Gregory|
Michael (Harank) has asked me to write something of the feeling about and conversation about homosexuality at the CW when I was there. I arrived at the CW in March 1959, stayed through the summer of 1960, returned in the fall of 1961 and stayed through until spring. I had several short visits with Dorothy after that, and one long drive with her from Tennessee to Tivoli (CW farm in Duchess Co. NY) in the fall of 1974. We spent two nights on the way and had much conversation as you can imagine. I've always wished I'd had a tape recorder with me, but no.
While I was at the CW, I heard virtually no talk about sexuality of any kind. Can that be true? Yes, none of the group when i was first there, Charlie Butterworth, Beth Rogers, Bob Steed, Deane Mowrer, Jean Walsh, others whose names at the moment I can't recall---none of us was into such conversation, as we say now. It was different in 1961-62. I don't doubt that such talk was going on then, but I didn't join in it. Bob and I acknowledged later that we were gay. I don't know if any others did. I never talked with Dorothy about my sense of myself, my sexuality. In the mid-seventies I wrote a book that was in a way a coming-out story and I sent it to Bob. I got the impression that he showed it to Dorothty, but I never knew for sure. She never spoke of it. I definitely did not feel like sending it to her directly---shy, I guess.
I did, on that long drive, talk with her about the women's movement. She seemed to know little about it. I remember her saying that she thought "women's liberation" meant promiscuity. I told her not at all, and that much disucussion of community went on among women---and not only discussion, the gathering of women and founding of communites.
What led me to feel that Dorothy disliked homosexuality, that she felt an unexamined revulsion from it, I'm not sure. I heard what other people said about her feelings and views. I'm fairly sure I never heard her speak of them herself. I may have read remarks in her column and articles that gave me this notion. The subject, homosexuality, which later became one of such contention, did not exit among us.
Judith Gregory died on January 20th, 2017, aged 84, in Jaffrey, N.H.
On Pilgrimage by Dorothy Day/Foreward|
"All ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord." This is the refrain of the three young men who opposed (by non-violent resistance) the ruler Nabuchcodonoser and were thrown in the fiery furnace. But the fire became as a refreshing wind breathing upon them, and their ordeal became a time of joy, and they lifted up their hearts in exalted praise and blessed God. The song they sang is one which made an early appeal to me from the time I first heard it in a little Episcopalian church in Chicago on 35th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, until this very day.
I have spent happy hours during this past year with Beckie and Suzie in a wicker rocking chair, in front of a fire in the kitchen of an old farm house down in West Virginia, singing our morning prayers: "All ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord. Oh ye ice and snow, oh ye cold and wind, oh ye winter and summer, oh ye trees in the woods, oh ye fire in the stove, oh ye Bechie and Suzie and Eric, bless ye the Lord! Praise Him and exalt Him above all forever."
It is a song with infinite variations. You can include the neighbors' cows and horses; the Hennessey goats and chickens; all the human beings for miles around. You can draw in all those in the Catholic Worker movement, scattered throughout the country, all the readers of the paper, all the people on the breadlines.
I sang this song with exultation as a child, as a young mother, and now I am singing it as a grandmother And it's in the missal if anyone wishes to sing it after Mass, to himself, or to children of his own.
You can make up the tune as well as add to the words, and the Lord does not mind, nor do the three youths who first composed the song. What are we here for anyway except to praise Him, to adore Him and to thank Him.
So, dear God, let this book praise You too, and all the work of my hands, whether it is breadbaking or writing. It is a woman's book, and for women, and I may repeat myself, bu mothers always do that to be heard, I have talked about many things, and many things are implied. it is not a true journal, but written from month to month in the midst of much toil. But it deals with things of concern to us all, the family, the home, how to live, with what to live and what we live by. There are accounts of New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania----I have strayed no farther this year, and it deals with the humble people of these places, and the things which concern them. I pray God to bless the book and you who read it.
ON PILGRIMAGE by Dorothy Day|
"JANUARY 5----Around Newburgh, New York, five miles outside of which, Maryfarm is located, we had more snow than sleet so we did not have the jeweled fairyland display of the countryside closer to New York.The wind blew the snow in drifts waist high and Father Becker of Georgetown, who was our guest over Christmas had plenty of manual labor helping Hans, John, Joe and Frank get paths shovelled to and from the barns, the men's house, the road etc. For two day the mail did not get through, though some bold truckmen kept the road open from Middletown to Newburgh.
"New Year's Day, the Feast of the Circumcision,we did not have a priest, but we were able to get to the nearest church before the second storm broke. Right after the nine o'clock Mass we ran into sleet for a while and Walter, who was driving had to get out and clean the windshield with his pen knife three times in the five miles.
"I hate to talk about our abundance in these time of high prices. But the peasant who has not been displeaced from the land can tell the same story as we---the story of food put away for the winter. John and Frank are busy smoking eighty pounds of bacon, ten hams and ten shoulders of pork, keeping the fire in the smoke house going with applewood. We have an ancient orchard so old that it has to be uprooted and replanted so we have plenty of wood. We have a barn full of apples, thanks to a neighbor, plenty of potatoes, and still some of our own cabbage and turnips, besides a few thousand cans, thanks to Dave Mason and Joe Cotter.
"Our good cook Charlie, who has had a wide experience with railroad gangs and institutions kept us supplied with pies and that topped the holiday meals. Niether Maureen, Marie Threese nor I could hold a candle to him in the kitchen. I did the bread-baking, four pound-loaves a day and it was the delicious unkneaded bread of Sir Albert Howard's recommendation. Marie Therese said that she had made it before without success, but it was because she did not have her dough stiff enough. One should be able to pick it up and, flouring one's hands, form it into loaves. Neighbors brought us friut, coffee, cookies and in spite of the storm we had visitors, Eileen Egan, John O'Donnell, Dave Mason, Dick Roland (of Brooklyn Catholic Action) Stanley and Walter Vishnewski. Jane O'Donnell was home for home for the holiday and we missed her, especiallly her godchild Hans.
"It was a happy Christmas time with everyone receiving Communion together. It was gppd to have Father Becker's informal talks every evening, in additon to homilies at Mass and discullions during the day. It was good to get to bed early, and read Dickens and listen to the snow hit against the window panes in the attic, which is the warmest part of the house.
"Downstairs it was cold in spite of the furnace (our first use of coal this winter), The wall and ceilings are unfinfshed and so the wind wistles through. The kitchen is warm, but one has to keep coats on in the dining room. Peter Maurin, what with being so inactive, found it hard to keep warm inspite of woolens, sweaters, stocking cap and a blanket over his knees. His cough got worse, so when I suggested a visit to Mott Street his face lit up. He can be in my room, next to Marjorie and Joe Hughes, and the children can run in and out and Peter will love that. Johannah like to boss him, and she softens her bossiness by putting her pink cheek against his and hugging him. 'Peter, you are just an old man and you have to drink your orange juice.' (My daughter used to say when she was a little girl 'When you get little and I get big, I'll take care of you') Peter is 'little' to Johannah now,
"We had to call the doctor for Peter when he went to Mott Street because his excitement at the change of scene led him to overdo it. The docotr diagnosed his cough as cardiac asthma and said otherwise all was well. So he is not trying to venture out for any walks in this weather. Kay Martin and the baby Joe are in the back room and their stove is so roaring hot that Peter's bedroom is well heated too. And Hazen and Joe and David and Mike have dropped in to see him for a little conversation.
"There is a skeleton staff at the farm now that the Christmas holidays oare over. The next retreat will be Easter week, for women, but we hope also before then to have a Lenten retreat at the beggining of the season.
"i left the farm at 8:10 in the morning, catching the bus which goes right by the door straight in to New York. That same bus returns past the farm at 9: 30 every night.
"I must remember to bring out the point that in describing the comfort of our Christmas on the farm, I do it to contrast the city and the country. If we who are tied to the city, cannot go villageward at once we can begin to hold it as an ideal for our children, and begin to educate them towards it.
"In a few weeks I am borrowing a car and going to West Virginia where my twenty-one year old daughter is now settled with husband and babies. She is expecting another so I shall be there for several months writing about my family which after all is like all families so that when I write 'I' and 'mine,' my readers put themselves in my place and it is their hopes and fears and joys and sorrows they are reading about, common to us all."----Dorothy Day in ON PILGRIMAGE, Catholic Worker Books, 115 Mott St. NYC, December, 1948
"The easist way to explain anarchism is to say that it is a political movement that aims to bring about a genuinely free society---that is, one in which humans only enter those kinds of relations with one another that would not have to be enforced by the constant threat of violence. History has shown that vast inequalities of wealth and institutions like slavery , debt peonage or wage labor can only exist if backed up by armies, prisons and police. Anarchists wish to see human relations that would not have to be backed up by armies, prisons and police. Anarchism envisions a society based on equality and solidarity, which could exist solely on the free consent of participants." from OCCUPY WALL STREET'S ANARCHIST ROOTS, an essay by David Graeber in THE OCCUPY HANDBOOK, Backbay Books, Little, Brown & Co. 2012
Helen Iswolsky & The Catholc Worker|
"Another man in the United States who was influenced by (Emmanuel) Mounier and his personalism was Peter Maurin of
The Cathilic Worker, already mentioned with Dorothy Day in the preceding chapter. They greeted me in America with much cordiality because we had found a common denominator in personalism."----Helen Iswolsky in NO TIME TO GRIEVE, Hippocrene Books, 1985.
Leo Tolstoy, Anarchist|
"He was one of history's great truth-tellers, the first of the great dissidents, and their patron saint. In a world dominated by crooked rulers, unjust wars, malice and corruption, and, above all, lies, Tolstoy became what Dante called a 'one-man party' and struck out to right and left. True, Tolstoy's embrace of Christian anarchism was inconsistent on many levels but when the enemies in his sights included the grossly selfish Russian royal family, and an Orthodox Church that supported one of the most unjust political regimes in European history (and blessed field guns in the name of Christ), it is hard not to cheer the old bearded prophet and overlook any unkindness he might have displayed toward his wife."....A N Wilson
An old anarchist recently said: Forget philosophy and theology and psychology and sociology; in the end it all boils down to....biology.
"The function of government is to govern as little as possible. The funciton of the governed is to be intimidated (governed) by government as little as possible."----Virgil Thomson, American composer.
"States are like men in that their vigour and prosperity do not last forever; they mature, they grow old, they succumb...Many ancient kingdoms and many rich republics which governed the world have been exstinguished so completely that nothing now remains of them but the memory of history; and many powers which are at present great were nothing in reputation or in name only a little while ago."-----Michele Soriano, A.D. 1561.
"Ever since the Nuremberg trials, international legal authorities had moved to formally condemn the physical and psychological abuse of the powerless. In 1948 the United Nations General Assembly emphatically stated in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 'No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.' The following year, the third Geneva Convention reiterated this fundamental commandment: 'No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of amy kind.'----from THE DEVIL'S CHESSBOARD by David Talbot, Harper, Collins, 2015
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