SS. Francis & Thérèse: The first 20 years

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on June 22nd, 2006

This article notes some of what happened at the Saints Francis & Thérèse Catholic Worker community in Worcester, Massachusetts, between 1986 and 2006. It first appeared in the June/July 2006 issue of The Catholic Radical. 52 Mason St, Worcester MA 01610 – 508.753.3588 – theresecw2@gmail.com.

1986

The Saints Francis & Thérèse Catholic Worker Community begins on Worcester’s Castle Street, with Dan Ethier, Sarah Jeglosky, Carl Siciliano, Justin Duffy, and Claire and Scott Schaeffer-Duffy as founding members. The Bread Not Bombs Bakery begins. We move to an apartment at 21 Jaques Avenue. The first issue of The Catholic Radical is published. Carl moves to New York City.

Our first guests are Kenny Stuart, Ron Hesselton, Joe Devoe, and his dog Andy. When asked why he doesn’t keep items he salvages from dumpsters, Kenny says, “I don’t want to play those materialistic high notes.”

We vigil weekly against nuclear weapons at GTE’s Westboro plant. Dan commits civil disobedience at GTE and is sentenced to finish his theology thesis. Sarah and Scott are arrested with 35 others at a Trident submarine launch in Groton, CT. Scott, dressed as Santa Claus, is arrested at a war toys protest. He is sentenced not to dress as Santa until next Christmas.

We receive invaluable support from Paul Giaimo, Jim Barclay, Tom Lewis, Sue Malone, Judy Brown, Dave Williams, Mark McCarthy, Rick and Peter Heffernin, and many others.

1987

Scott and 34 others are arrested on Valentine’s Day at GTE. Scott, Dan Lawrence, and six others are jailed for up to 35 days. Sarah is arrested on Holy Thursday at GTE with Wayne Petrin, Jamie Babson, Dan Sicken, Tom Lewis, and Meg Brodhead. They refuse to post bond saying, “We choose to remain in jail on the night Christ was kept in jail.” Bishop George Rueger testifies at their trial after which no one is jailed. Our community and the two families living above us are left homeless by a fire on April Fools Day. The Little Franciscans of Mary shelter the Schaeffer-Duffys. A prayer vigil for women’s ordination is held at Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Claire is arrested at Riverside Research weapons lab in New York City with 21 others, including Dan Berrigan and Martin Sheen. The Mason Street house is bought, renovated, and given to a land trust. Longtime Catholic Worker Hazen Ordway volunteers for two months. Dottie Bowman and Holy Cross College student Chris Douçot spend Christmas break with us.

Hospitality is extended to Don and Mae.

Sarah writes, “An elderly woman named Theresa gave us a mitten full of twenty dollars in change for a single loaf of wheat bread. She told me that, although she’s never been to our house, she still feels a strong spiritual connection with our work.”

Barbara Horn, Julie Arsenault, Beth Driscoll, Isabelle Marinus, Mike True, and Dan Lawrence help us out.

1988

Grace Duffy is born. Scott is arrested with Phil Berrigan and seven others at Johns Hopkins University weapons laboratory in Baltimore. Claire and Scott pass out flyers decrying war and abortion at Planned Parenthood. Worcester police refuse to arrest them. We protest ROTC at Holy Cross College with Father George Zabelka, a pacifist who was the military chaplain for the Hiroshima bomb crew. Our neighbor Bobby Walker’s house burns down. Dan Ethier moves to Minnesota. Scott spends a month as a human rights observer in tbe Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank. The house furnace has to be replaced a week before Christmas.

Our guests include Ricardo, Chuck, Steve, Joel, Anna, Ariki. and Papa Brown. Scott writes, “On the anniversary of Dorothy Day’s birth, we had so many guests that one bed had to be used round the clock.”

Elizabeth Detweiller, Chip Larkin, Chris Cole, and a rabbinical student named Joshua Wertheimer volunteer part of the year as live-in community members. Sarah marries Paul Giaimo. Meg Brodhead moves in. Jim Finnegan opens his home to overflow guests. Teresa Wheeler and Mike Cahill join our peace work and help start a weekly Bible study. Teresa sleeps over once a week to help out.

1989

Anne Marie Thorton, Scott, and 49 others are arrested on Martin Luther Kin Day protesting nuclear weapons in Groton, CT. Chris Douçot and Scott are jailed for three days in RI after being arrested with 31 others at an Operation Rescue anti-abortion demonstration. Jennifer Hoffman joins the community. Chris and Scott are on the Morton Downey, Jr. TV show. We win the “Spirit of Peace” trophy from Worcester’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. Scott, Phil Berrigan, and Jim Reale are arrested while demonstrating for nuclear disarmament at the South African Embassy in Washington, DC. They are jailed overnight. Jennifer, Chris, and Scott are arrested with 607 others at the Seabrook, NH nuclear power plant. After presenting a necessity defense, Jennifer, Scott, Tom Lewis, Hattie Nessel, and Ken Synan are found not guilty of trespass at GTE by a Worcester jury.

Guests include Ross, Dennis, Marcia, and the indomitable Betty Hazard who tells Scott “Whoever told you Fall begins in September was a nut!”

1990

Hazen Ordway dies at 79. Scott is sentenced to a year in jail for his MLK day protest in Groton. A letter-writing campaign secures his release after 60 days. We start a weekly vigil for peace in El Salvador.
Meg and Jennifer move on. On Father’s Day, we protest sexism, pornography, arid violence against women. A Peace Camp for children is organized by Claire at St. Peter’s Parish. An interfaith prayer vigil for disarmament is held at GTE from Hiroshima Day to Nagasaki Day. We join a weekly anti-war vigil in Lincoln Square as Iraq war preparations begin. Scott, Tom, Hattie, Frances Crowe, Elmer Maas, Tom Feagley, Lisa Baskin, and 15 others are arrested at Westover Air Force Base, the departure point for most US troops to the Mideast. Claire leads opposition to Operation Eagle, an elementary school letter-writing program to US soldiers in thePersian Gulf. Our proposal to prohibit military access to elementary school children is unanimously rejected by the City Council.

Our guests include a former social worker, a Haitian woman, a Native American activist, a 17-year-old, a struggling alcoholic, and many others. Tragically, our guest Jeff overdoses on drugs shortly after leaving us.

1991

Patrick Duffy is born. Holding a sign reading “Trident: a threat to every mother’s child,” Claire is arrested with Jackie Allen, Chris Douçot, Mike Cahill, and seven others in Groton. Claire is sentenced to 15 days in jail, but the judge releases her unconditionally an hour later. We host a prayer/fast for Mideast peace. Our Lincoln Square vigil draws flag-waving counter-protesters who kick Chris Douçot. Scott and the rest of the “Westover Thirteen” are convicted after a jury trial, but they appeal the verdict. A movie is made of the trial. At the Pentagon on Valentine’s Day, Mike Cahill, Scott, and 60 members of the Atlantic Life Community protest the Gulf War.

We welcome Estella, Angela and her son Leo, refugees from El SaIvador and Honduras. Angela, the widow of a labor organizer, receives an anonymous letter from Honduras telling her to return with Leo so they can be “brutally murdered” as her husband was. The author threatens to kill Angela’s extended family members “one by one” until she comes back. Despite this threat, the US refuses to grant her political asylum. Eventually, Angela, Leo, and some of their extended family are accepted into Canada. Estella leaves us to make her way in the US.

Claire helps organize a Mother’s Day march for peace. Cheri Andes joins our peace work and Bible study. GTE closes. We protest Worcester’s Gulf War victory celebration. We vigil against war and abortion on the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

A pastoral counselor from Vermont, Michael Caldwell, stays with us on Mondays. November and December are the two busiest months of hospitality since the house opened.

1992

Dan Lawrence joins the community. Michael Leahy volunteers. Three months after leaving us, he dies suddenly at age 48. Chris marries Jackie Allen. Together with Brian Kavanagh, they found the Hartford Catholic Worker. Paulette Lacoste volunteers to typeset The Catholic Radical. We initiate a campaign for lead-free water in Worcester. We protest sending US troops to Somalia. Scott is arrested at the US Navy submarine base in Groton. The Westover appeal is argued by Scott and later denied. We win another award for our entry in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. We hold a banner denouncing Columbus’s abuse of Native Americans during the Columbus Day Parade.

Claire answers an early morning knockat the back door where Daniel, one of the neighborhood children, tells her, ”I had a nightmare that you moved away.”

1993

Dave Maciewski joins the community. On the anniversary of the Gulf War, Tom Lewis and Scott protest at the Federal Building. The police refuse to arrest them because “they were quiet and did not interfere with the operation of the building. Also, we did not want to give them the added publicity.” We host a gathering to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Catholic Worker Movement.

Our former guest Ephraim picks up two pieces of pie from us on Christmas Day, only to return them without explanation. Two months later, Ephraim calls to say, “I hope you aren’t mad at me because I brought that pie back to your house. Carol and I almost had a fist fight over who would get the biggest piece. The police came and told us we better get our acts together, so I returned the pie, figuring, if we’re going to fight over it, no one should have any pie.” At the weekly Bible study, Ron says, “I have a Bible that I think is one of the original King James Bibles. I just have to carbon-date the dust inside to be sure. It might even be a Gutenberg.” Soft-spoken and polite, Ali, the former head of the Shah of Iran’s secret police, cooks dinner for us once a week. Huong, a Vietnamese boat person, tells us that his aunt lost five sons in just three months of the war.

1994

Scott goes to Bosnia twice and wins Worcester’s Human Rights Award. We receive enormous media coverage and support. We help start the Coalition to Stop JROTC and are called “traitors.” The School Committee votes 7-0 to support JROTC. Kevin Ksen, Ken Hannaford-Ricardi, Nancy Jodaitis, Dave, Claire, and Scott begin weekly protests against JROTC at high schools.

Scott is arrested in Groton with Chris, Tom, and 10 others. Scott, Dave, Tom, and Nancy are arrested at the Israeli Consulate in Boston calling for the release of the nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu. The charges are dropped. Our former neighbor Bobby Walker gives us permission to make a garden and what the kids call “No Fighting Park” in the vacant lot behind our house. With Scott dressed in a polar bear costume, we pour Coca-Cola products into the sewer to protest a Coke lawsuit against Worcester’s Polar Cola.

Guests include Joe Lupien and Ken from the vet center, Peter, who is dying of AIDS, and Gary, who paints our house before going to Maine to pick blueberries.

Gordon Grant, Tom McCarthy, Julia Bumbaugh, and T. Christopher Cornell pitch in. Naval officer Nathan Lyczak volunteers and then files as a conscientious objector.

1995

Aiden Duffy is born. Cinnamon Sarver joins us. Jo Massarelli and Marc Tumeinski also live in for a month. After buying a house in Woreester, Jo and Marc often open their home to our overflow guests. We host a Catholic Worker gathering. We protest at a Shrewsbury gun store where a rifle used in a triple killing was bought the day before. On the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, Cinnamon and Scott are arrested at the Pentagon. Dave and Scott are arrested at two Trident sub launches. Cinnamon and Scott pour French wine into a sewer to protest France’s nuclear testing. With help from Martin Sheen, the Schaeffer-Duffy family spends 30 days in India.

New guests include Andrew Pearson and 83-year-old, legally blind Mary Quayle, aka Dawn Alikian. Betty moves out after 13 months and only three baths.

A drunken Steve leaves a note questioning our Christianity. A week later, he tells Scott, “I’ll never forget you, Dennis.”

Enrico says: “What kind of car does God drive? It says in the book of Genesis that God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden in a Fury. So, there it is. God drove a Plymouth.”

John tells us, “Priests and sisters are 100% to Jesus. I’m only 30% to Jesus, but you folks are 70% to Jesus.”

1996

While spending the night at our house, Ephraim Perez dies at 37. Dave initiates an Ameriya Day vigil to remember the Iraq War dead.

Our banner quoting St. Patrick’s words, “Killing cannot be with Christ,” is banned from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Irish Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire, Bishop Rueger, 33 nuns, 31 priests, 4 politicians, the grand marshals of the St. Patrick’s Day and Columbus Day parades, and 320 others petition the parade committee to reconsider, but they vote 22-0 against us.

The IRS notifies us of a mislaid $16,255 donation from Martin Sheen. A solar water heating system is installed. Cinnamon leaves to visit other CW houses. Scott is arrested with 19 others at a Trident sub protest. He is sentenced to “continue works of charity.” The Noonday CW farm brings vegetables weekly. Dave helps with the Hawley Street community garden.

Guests include Nicki, Yana, Eliud, Lorna, Renee, Marty, Corrine, and Jihad. Arya visits us from India, as does Fidel, who fled Cuba on an inner tube. Herman says, “This was the first vegetarian meal I’ve ever had, and it wasn’t half as terrible as I’d expected.”

1997

Hannah Landsel joins the community for five months. Dave goes to Iraq with Voices in the Wilderness. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette editorializes, “Peace group beds down with the Butcher of Baghdad.” Under the title “Teddy Bears For Iraq,” Grace, Kate Boucher, and Ruth Hatch collect 100 stuffed animals for hospitalized Iraqi children. We organize a Celebration of Irish Peacemakers which is enjoyed by hundreds.

Claire and Justin join 800 teens on a Pennsylvania march against the death penalty. Mike Cahill, Dave, Hannah, and Scott are arrested at a Sea Wolf sub protest. Scott gets two days in jail. Claire goes to Las Vegas for a CW gathering on the 100th anniversary of Dorothy Day’s birth and is arrested at the Nevada nuclear test site. Scott goes to Israel to vigil and fast for Mordechai Vanunu’s release. Marc Tumeinski, Dave, Hannah, and Scott are arrested with 600 at the School of the Americas (SOA) in Georgia.

Guests include Koji, a Japanese exchange student; Lee, the bicyclist; Eduardo, a deaf ex-con; Phil, an amputee; and Bruce Russell, who always asks, “What’s the first thing you know?” to which he replies “Ol’ Jed’ s a millionaire.”

1998

Susin King volunteers at our bakery. Scott, Marc, Brian Kavanagh, Sean Donahue, Frances Crowe, Audrey Stewart, and seven others are arrested at the Lockheed Martin plant in Nashua, NH. Everyone is jailed for three to five days except Brian, who is acquitted on a technicality despite his desire not to “weasel out of jail.” Weekly Raytheon Peacemaker vigils begin in Andover, MA. Ken, Scott, Frances, Hattie, Marcia, and Justin Kennaway are arrested at Raytheon. They are sentenced to community service. Felice Cohen-Joppa, Art Laffin, Barry Roth, Hattie, and Scott are arrested with American, British, and Israeli peace activists for attempting a “citizen’s weapons inspection” of Israel’s nuclear weapons site. Dave goes to Honduras. Scott delivers medicine in Iraq with Chris, Meg Doe of Holy Cross College, Kathy Kelly, Bishop Gumbleton, former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, and 78 others. Ken, Susin, Scott, Chris, Hattie, Marcia, Mike True, Jarle Bernhardt, Tom Feagley, and Suzanne Carlson are arrested for attempting a citizen’s weapons inspection at Raytheon. Ken goes to Iraq with Voices in the Wilderness. Ken, Dave, and Scott fast 21 days outside the UN for an end to sanctions on Iraq. Susin and Claire go to Bosnia to join a Women’s peace initiative. Claire and Dave are arrested with over 2,000 at the SOA. Ken, Dan, Jo, and Scott hold a 21-day Advent fast for an end to violence against children via war, abortion, sanctions, and the death penalty.

Scott and Jono O’Sullivan’s appeal to coach a coed soccer team is unanimously defeated by Worcester Youth Soccer League. Scott and Jono field a coed team under a league called Worcester United.

Our guests include Cliff Lichter, a Catholic Worker old-timer; Jose, whose dentures would later be blown away by a hurricane in Puerto Rico; and Dan, an lrish tenor who insisted on singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for his dinner.

1999

Christine Lavallee joins us. Claire starts free-lance writing. Dan gets a hip replacement. Dave goes to a farm in Minnesota.

We protest President Clinton’s bombing of Iraq during his first week in office. Claire and Grace attend The Hague Appeal for Peace with Nobel laureates and 8,OOO activists. Ramsey Clark testifies at the jury trial for the Raytheon weapons inspectors, who are convicted and sentenced to a year’s probation. Claire, Susin, Abby Hannaford-Ricardi, and Mara Pentlarge organize a Mother’s Day protest against NATO war in Kosovo and Serbia. Claire and Susin go to Bosnia again. Scott joins a three-day peace walk from a depleted uranium site in Concord to Raytheon in Andover. Ken, Scott, and Tom Lewis are arrested at Raytheon on St. Francis’ feast day.

We call “Veterans to be Saints” outside St. Paul’s Cathedral during the first Red, White, and Blue Veteran’s Day Mass.

We host 117 guests, including a refugee family from Bosnia and Kosovo.

Bruce announces, “On New Year’s Day, they’re having a three-hour Three Stooges marathon from 10 to 12.”

Four-year-old Aiden says, “I got a million, jillion, pillion candies for Halloween last year. This year I’m going to get infinity. Infinity is a wicked lot.”

2000

Vince Phillips and Julie help out at the bakery. Ken goes to Basra, Iraq. We vigil in support of a successful nurses strike at St. Vincent’s Hospital. Brian, Kevin, Nancy, and Scott join bombing range protests in Vieques, Puerto Rico. Dave returns. Tom, Marc, Dave, Scott, and Arthur Brien are arrested at Raytheon during Holy Week, and sentenced to stay 500 yards away from Raytheon property for a year. Their weekly vigil moves down the road.

Scott starts a flower garden in a vacant lot. A passing six-year-old says, “Wow! That’s beautiful. You must be a fairy.”

We host 111 different guests including Aguido and his dog Bailey. Aguido rebuilds the porches on the back of the house.

Patrick asks Claire, “Can I give you a hug, Mom?” She replies “Sure.” Afterwards, she asks, “What was that for?” He shrugs, “I bad nothing else to do.”

When Dave is asked the time a guest arrived, he says, “Between 5 and 6, on the dot.”

Claire says, ”The readership of America Magazine is 60% male and 30% female.”

Dan is perplexed by this message on his answering machine: “This is Jane at the Halloween store. We need the remote control for the flying saucer.”

2001

Dan Lawrence dies at 68 and is waked at the house in a pine coffin built by Fran Reagan.

Brenna Cussen joins us. We hold a solemn vigil for peace at City Hall on September 12. Weekly peace vigils begin again at Lincoln Square. Brenna organizes a Mass to End War concelebrated at St. Paul’s Cathedral by 18 priests and Bishop Daniel Reilly. Father Bernie Gilgun, of the Mustard Seed CW, gives the homily.

We join a New Haven CW protest against military aid to Colombia.

Justin and Claire attend NAFTA protests in Quebec, Canada. Grace’s artwork first appears in The Catholic Radical. Chris, Scott, Jessica Stewart, and Joe Hamiliton form a CW Peace Team to Israel-Palestine and facilitate delicate surgery in the United States for Marwa al-Sharif, a Palestinian girl shot in the head by an Israeli sniper.

We join a neighborhood prayer vigil for Elizabeth Matos and William Vega, a teenage couple who were shot to death a block away from our house. A guest with a 21-year heroin addiction dies in one of our upstairs bedrooms. Brenna organizes a protest at Raytheon against the militarization of space. US bombing of Afghanistan is protested. Claire wins a Catholic Press Award for “best feature writing in a national newspaper.” Claire and Aiden get lost in the woods bordering Worcester. After a search and rescue team found them, Claire tells the press, “I was lost, but now I’m found.”

Brenna says of Scott’s painting of the Virgin Mary, “Who is it? St. Francis? All those holy people look alike to me.”

2002

Mike Benedetti arrives and, months later, leaves to hike the Appalachian Trail. Los Angeles CW alum Sheila McCarthy visits us. Claire, Johanna Berrigan, and Bishop Gumbleton go to Afghanistan with Global Exchange. We join a large demonstration in Washington, DC to protest the impending war against Iraq. Timothy and Christa Aikens-Hill join us. Annual vigils against ROTC begin at Holy Cross College. Students organize a pro-ROTC rally. Christine Lavallee and Scott are among 89 arrested at the SOA.

Grace Ritter, Audrey Stewart, and Scott go to Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Jenin to deliver food and medicine and promote an end to an Israeli military assault. We publish an “Open Letter to the Jewish Community” appealing for an end to the Israeli occupation. Shortly thereafter, 600 rally for Israel.

Kevin, Brian, Nancy, and Scott protest bombing on Vieques. Ken and Scott fast for an end to violence against children.

Guests include Daryl, Larry, Shirley, and her chihuahua. Shirley saw Elvis at Graceland.

Freddie tells Mike, “When I first came here and you answered the door, I was scared because you look like Jeffrey Dahmer.”

Andrew says, “Scott’s sick. He needs help. That’s why so many people help him.”

2003

A letter in The Telegram & Gazette describes Scott as “a self-righteous propagandist who should be shunned.” Scott serves three months in a Georgia jail for civil disobedience at the SOA. Fremont Nantelle and others help out. Timothy, Christa, Claire, and the children join large marches in Boston and New York City to oppose a US invasion of Iraq. After Scott’s release, the Schaeffer-Duffy family goes to Ireland.
They tour Belfast with Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire. They meet activists protesting Raytheon in Derry, see the Giant’s Causeway, and enjoy “sessions” of Irish music at Mat Malloy’s in County Mayo.

Timothy and Christa move to Greece. Our 70-year-old neighbor, Lula Dyer, helps with our annual Earth Day cleanup. Holy Cross student Adam Musser moves in for the summer. Justin goes to Wesleyan University.
We host 103 different guests.

2004

A guest attempts suicide. Mike returns.

Maria from Denmark stays with us. Claire goes to India to report on the World Social Forum in Mumbai and anti-dam activism in the Narmada Valley. Ken, Scott, Brenna, Grace Ritter, and Lisa Guido form a Catholic Worker Peace Team to Israeli/Palestine to celebrate Mordechai Vanunu’s release from prison and to protest the wall Israel is constructing in and around the West Bank.

Patrick, Aiden, Conor Cappe, Kieran O’Sullivan, Evan Johnson, and Josef Ameur found The Mountain Warriors. They climb seven mountains.

Mike plays Dan Berrigan in “The Trial of the Catonsville Nine.” Mike leaves to hike the Continental Divide Trail.

Harry Duchesne organizes a Young Neighbors in Action group of teenage volunteers who help paint our house.

David Maher, Jim Whittaker, Peter Sulski help out.

We join a protest against “Spirit of America,” a military recruitment program for school children held at Worcester’s Centrum. Bishop Reilly celebrates a Mass for an End to War on the third anniversary of September 11th. Father John Madden is the homilist.

Patty Angevine joins us for baking, Mass, proofreading, and peace work. She and Father Madden help start a soup kitchen at St. John’s Parish.
Claire, Justin, Tom, and Alice Swanson join Barbara Horn in New York City for anti-war protests during the Republican Convention.

Brenna, Scott, Grace Ritter, and Chris Doucot form a Catholic Worker Peace Team to Darfur, Sudan. They visit five camps for internally displaced people and distribute $ 18,000 worth of assistance.

We shelter Leon, an undocumented high school student from Jamaica.

When a guest asks Daryl, “Who are you?” she answers, “I’m John Kerry’s sister.” A guest named John says at dinner, “I might go to college at Worcester State, but, then again, I might just live the splendor and go off into the desert like John the Baptist.”

2005

Mike returns. Ken, Scott, Brenna, Chris, Tom, Brian, and Harry Duchesne are arrested at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, DC while protesting genocide in Darfur. At their trial, Eric Reeves, Bishop Gumbleton, Mwiza Munthali, Barbara Wien, and Marc Lance give expert testimony. They are convicted and given suspended sentences. Patrick, Justin, and Mike make a film about the Darfur protest which later wins WCCA television’s “Best Documentary” award.

Ken, Scott, Brian, and Sarah Karas of the Hartford CW support the Pit Stop Plowshares trial in Dublin, Ireland. Ken, Mike, Scott, and Tom fast and vigil for five days outside the Sudanese Embassy.

On the second anniversary of the killing of peace activist Rachel Corrie, who tried to block the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip, Ken, Scott, and Mike join Jewish Voices for Peace protesting Caterpillar’s sale of bulldozers to the Israeli military.

Claire accompanies a health and human rights delegation to Haiti and reports on abuse by Haiti’s interim government.

Abby, Mike, and Scott sew and decorate more than 87 cloth shopping bags given away at a nearby Big Y Supermarket to encourage people to say no to paper and plastic bags. Ken goes to Washington, DC as an organizer and participant in a protest against torture.

Craig Houston strips and reroofs our house. Young Neighbors in Action help. Our annual vigil against ROTC is held at Holy Cross College. Justin studies abroad in Cairo, Egypt. He visits Jerusalem and the West Bank. Mike cuts wood for 2,000 crosses displayed on the Worcester Common to memorialize the American dead in Iraq. The Mountain Warriors climb 13 more peaks.

Among our 109 guests in 2005 is a man named Sam who claims he shot rats as large as cows in his basement which was being used at the time to grow marijuana. He said a plague of leeches grew on the rat carcasses which the police exterminated with “a horde of locusts.” According to Sam, ”That’s the standard thing.”

2006

We organize a “Unite Against Violence” march from an abortion clinic to a military station in Worcester. Claire returns to Haiti to report on much-delayed elections. Scott leads support for South High basketball coach Pat Williams who accuses two referees of racism and bias. One hundred and fifty rally in front of Worcester’s City Hall to call for a full review ofthecharges.

Grace is accepted to Columbia University.

Ken, Mike, Scott, Brenna, David Maher, Al Guilmette, and Clark University students Phil Loomis, Lia Volat, and Ryan Smith are arrested at the Sudanese Embassy. Ken, Al, Scott, and Assumption College student Chris Kessing go to the embassy a month later to support civil disobedience by five members of Congress, including Worcester’s Jim McGovern and California’s Tom Lantos, a Holocaust survivor. Claire, Scott, Victoria, Patrick, and Aiden join over 2,000 ata City Hall rally for immigration reform.

Elliot, Victoria, Gary, Sean, Larry, Jarrod, Brenda, and Steve are just a few of our many guests.


Successes, failures, and ongoing campaigns mark our first two decades. As the numerous names cited in this history indicate, nothing was accomplished without the help of many people. We are sustained by selfless volunteers and loving donors. Please pray that all future members of the Saints Francis & Thérèse Catholic Worker will follow God’s will without laziness born of pride or despair. Let us recall what St. Francis of Assisi said to his friars near the end of his extraordinarily holy life, “Let us begin, for until now we have done nothing.” God will bring all efforts to completion in due time.

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2 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On November 14, 2009 at 18:13 Gorg Fox said:

    Would like to do a tv show about your community. Please contact me at your convenience. My e mail peaceworkerincambridge@yahoo.com

    I have a radio show on Tuesday mornings here in Cambridge MA and would like to have one or two of your members as guests on the show.
    Please let me know if and when you may have an interest.

  2. On April 6, 2010 at 21:23 William Watts said:

    I have admired and respected the work which you all do fir years. I am a little concerned however that Craig Houston striped before he reroofed your house. One can do a lot of damage to ones self by being ‘liberated’ while doing construction.

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