We attempt to live simply, nonviolently, and in solidarity with our poor neighbors in the Catholic Worker tradition. Our purpose is to open our home in order to live out the process of actualizing the Works of Mercy and the Works of Justice, offering our lives and our home as resistance to cultural norms that advocate human and material waste.
The Holy Family House, or “Holy House” as our guests call it, sits in the 900 block of East 31st Street in Kansas City, Missouri amidst neighborhood homes, low-income apartments, abandoned buildings, and vacant lots.
We live, in community, a simple lifestyle and are about a ministry of specific works of mercy and works of justice. Community and ministry are necessarily integrated elements of living at Holy Family House. Part of the ongoing purpose of Catholic Worker, by tradition, is to be a “school of radical Christianity, an invitation to know, through experience, the Gospel Jesus, who chose to become like, be with and for the poor.”
As a community we are called:
- to voluntary poverty, to live as though what we have belongs to those who don’t have, in contrast to endless accumulation, model simplicity rather than materialism, consumerism;
- to live in a neighborhood of poor people, to model integration, recognition of dignity regardless of economic status;
- to live in community, intentionally and deliberately, committed to each other and the common venture, with the joy and frustration, encouragement and challenge, potential and limits, in contrast to the pervading spirit of individualism;
- to name our home a “house of hospitality,” where persons, especially the stranger, can come to be noticed, accepted, welcomed, listened to, responded to, be treated as and called “guests”;
- to broaden the description of community, so that our table has settings for hungry people, our house has room for homeless families;
- to salvage food, clothing, furniture, to mediate between excess and deficiency, in contrast to a general throw-away mentality;
- to live nonviolently in the face of violence, war, and the pervasive disregard for the dignity and sacredness of life;
- to gather regularly for prayer and liturgy, bowing our head in humble admission to the limits of time, energy, ability, hoping to be faithful to the venture undertaken, knowing and trusting the process and results are in God’s hands.
- Serve 65-100 meals on each of three nights a week to people looking for food, warmth, recognition.
- Serve a simple breakfast four mornings a week.
- Offer clothing vouchers, drop-in space for telephone and bathroom, provide referrals and resources to community services agencies.
- Build relationships with neighboring agencies, work together to build community in the Troost Corridor.
- Host student groups, faith communities, and other seekers who wish to learn about justice, poverty, and our common call to action.