The Eugene Catholic Worker community was established in 2014. It is a part of the nationwide catholic worker movement founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin over 80 years ago at the height of the great economic depression. We are called to live gospel values in the spirit of the beatitudes (feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, …) and to live the great commandments (especially, in this world, to love your neighbor as yourself). Historically, St. Francis and St. Clare and St. Benedict lived these values out. We strive to live and work as God intended.
The Eugene Catholic Worker is committed to imitating Christ by working and living in the Franciscan Tradition serving the poor and displaced and marginalized members of our society regardless of race, color, creed, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age, handicap, sex, or sexual orientation. We believe in the human dignity of all and we believe in a relationship with a compassionate God and with each other.
Some members of the Catholic Worker are involved in protests and demonstrations intended to address social conditions that seem opposed to the social teachings of the Church. We feel that these activities are a natural extension of the day to day activities of service to the poor and marginalized members of society.
Social Justice and Resistance
Many people applaud and support the work of Catholic Worker communities to efforts to the poor and marginalized members of our society; at the same time, they have difficulty accepting the what have been described as political dimensions of our activities. Rev. Dom Helder Camara, Archbishop of Recife, Brazil, said: “When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist.” Our political dimension represents an attempt to ask the questions about conditions that lead to the need for works of mercy.
As Catholic Workers, we struggle to carry out our double mandate: to minister to the needs of society’s forgotten people, and to challenge and offer alternatives to the attitudes, institutions and structures that create and perpetuate suffering and violence. Thus we find ourselves protesting unfair treatment of the poor and homeless, the death penalty, U.S. torture policy, U.S. wars and occupations, U.S. nuclear policy, and bloated military budgets that rob from the poor and make the world an unsafe place to live. While most of our activities involve us in public vigils, marches, and prayer and fasting, we occasionally find ourselves being led by the Spirit to acts of civil disobedience (or what some call Divine obedience), which at times lead us to jail or prison.
Following Christ’s example, we also believe it is our duty to spread the word of our work and provide others with the opportunity to serve. The Eugene Catholic Worker will achieve its goals by the grace of God and by working together to bring about a world of peace and justice as envisioned by our founders, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin.