Kassie Temple House, Philadelphia

Sunday, the House of Grace Catholic Worker community in Philadelphia opened a new house of hospitality, Kassie Temple House.

Sunday, the House of Grace Catholic Worker community in Philadelphia opened a new house of hospitality, Kassie Temple House.

Kassie TempleThe house is named after long-time Catholic Worker Kassie Temple, who died in 2002 after being part of the New York Catholic Worker community for 27 years.

The house has five bedrooms and will house mostly refugee families.

In the House of Grace newsletter, Mary Beth Appel writes:

Hospitality has nothing to do with services offered by one group to another. It is about recognizing the healing that we can offer one another. Our new house simply offers more opportunity to engage in that revolutionary process.

Kassie Temple House, Philadelphia
Kassie Temple House, during the grand opening celebration.

In her essay “Welcome the Stranger,” Kassie Temple wrote:

Stanley Vishnewski used to tell a story about a visitor who wanted to know about the spirituality of the movement. What keeps people going? To which he replied, “Coffee!” A good joke, which shows mere truth, is spoken in jest. The companionship (from the Latin words bread and together) of a coffee break is an image of God’s friendship with us, the strangers whom God loves. In other words, hospitality is an imitation of the eucharistic meal in the world–and so Stanley was right. You could say hospitality is the spirituality of the Catholic Worker.

Some people feel too much weight is already put on hospitality. What about intentional community? Worker solidarity? Resistance? Pacifism? The New society? If, however, hospitality can be seen as the spirituality of the Catholic Worker I think the questions look different because they are all of one piece. Also, the problems are in a different perspective, with organizational concerns taking a back seat. Then, hospitalty, ideally, is the prism through which everything must pass, no matter what the combinations or permutations of activities.

One thought on “Kassie Temple House, Philadelphia”

  1. It is now July 2022. I learned of the Catholic Worker Movement in 2018, when I was living in California, and had gone to CA in order to enter a program for homeless folks, because I had just become homeless. That was in 2014. I arrived in CA in Oct. 2014, camped out at a state park for a week, learned my way around the small-ish town where I then entered the homeless shelter. It took me 2 years to do their program & exit homelessness. From there, I got to move into a single-room occupancy building, with my own room, instead of sleeping in a dorm, as I did at the shelter. That was good for about 2 yrs, then I felt it was time to move on. I was working full-time, but the San Francisco Bay Area is expensive. I found the Catholic Worker Movement, and they helped me have a place to go to, where I again had a room of my own, and a caring family to cook & share meals & chores with. I speak decent Spanish, and it’s beautiful to learn that “companionship” comes from the words bread and together. In Spanish, bread is “pan.” “compan” is “con pan” or “with bread.” I like what Kassie wrote about hospitality meaning healing each other, healing together. I’ve done as much healing by myself as I can. Now, I need to find a new family, a new community, where we all honor the healing we provide for each other. I’m hoping I’ll find a room with C.W. in Philly. Please email me or call me (I’ve left voicemail at the House of Grace. I’ve been on my own since 1998. Working, helping others, praying, forgiving. I hope to hear from folks at the House of Grace, or at Kassie Temple House. Blessings on Kassie Temple! And much gratitude to all who share bread & healing with each other.

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