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ST. MICHAEL'S CHAPEL - Catholic Worker odds & ends
May 27th, 2009
12:15 pm


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"10:30 St. Michael's for Russian Mass. Met Helene Iswolsky there, and we had coffee with Lyons Carr and wife and children after Helene came over to Chrystie St. ----Sunday May 15, 1955 entry in Dorothy's diary

St. Michael's Russian chapel, a Uniate church on Mulberry Street, was next door to St. Patrick's Old Cathedral and just a couple of blocks from the Catholic Worker headquarters at 223 Chrystie Street. Dorothy, Ammon Hennacy, Michael Kovalak and others of the CW community often attended the Sunday liturgy there. Helene Iswolsky, who taught Russian language and history at Fordham University, who was one of Dorothy's dearest friends, also attended the liturgy at St. Michael's on occasion. Helene's father, Alexander Iswolsky, had been foreign minister to Czar Nicholas II and later the Russian ambassador to the French Republic. Helene once introduced Dorothy to Alexandra Tolstoy, the daughter of the Russian novelist. The Countess said to Dorothy "Helene has fallen into bad company" and then turned her back on Dorothy. Years later Dorothy was also snubbed by Eleanor Roosevelt. RS

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Date:May 28th, 2009 06:40 am (UTC)
Thomas Merton, too, attended services at St. Michael's in his early years, according to this history: http://stmichaelruscath.org/history.php
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Date:May 28th, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this history. I had never heard before that Merton had visited St. Michael's. He must have heard of it from the Baroness de Hueck. No one at the CW could tell me whether or not he had ever visited the CW when he lived in New York. He knew of it and mentions in THE SEVEN STORY MOUNTAIN that someone from the Worker was due to give a lecture at St. Bonaventure's University while he was teaching there. The CW may have been too political for him. He seems to have preferred Friendship House. RS
Date:June 4th, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC)

Young Students in the Sixties

Thanks for this wonderful photo. I clearly remember a small group of high school friends visiting the Worker and attending Easter services at St Michael's. I seem to remember a crowded small space in front of the iconostasis in which we all stood for the lengthy liturgy, the heavy incense and the bread and wine. Truly a unique experience for us (1961?)finding a rite within the Catholic Church that seemed a well-kept secret. CNP
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