Kassie Temple House, Philadelphia

posted by Mike on May 4th, 2005

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.

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