A brief remembrance of Michael Webster

posted by Mike on June 12th, 2011

When I read that a pedestrian named “Michael Dennis Webster” was killed in a hit-and-run, I wondered: was that our Michael Webster?

Today Scott Schaeffer-Duffy confirmed that, unfortunately, it was. Read the rest of this entry »

Mason Street Musings

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on March 15th, 2011

Originally published in the April/May 2011 issue of The Catholic Radical.

Ding Dong! “Good Grief!” I grumbled as I dragged myself out of bed. “Who the heck could be at our door at 2 a.m.?” I went into our chilly hall to see a young couple on our front porch.

I asked them in and quickly learned that they are musicians from Illinois who were sleeping in their van in a Walmart parking lot until it got too cold.

“Our van died in front of your house,” the husband said gesturing toward a vehicle jutting out at an angle from Mason Court into Mason Street. “We know the Saint Louis Catholic Worker,” he concluded, as if that pretty much told all we needed to know. Read the rest of this entry »

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy in Houses of Hospitality, Lent, Worcester | on March 15th, 2011 | Permanent Link to “Mason Street Musings” | No Comments »

Mason Street Musings

posted by Ken Hannaford-Ricardi on February 14th, 2011

Expect the unexpected. You’d think, after sixteen years with the Mason Street Irregulars, I would have mastered this one rule of Catholic Worker life. As Scott reminded me many years ago, “You want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans.”

My plans for the three days following Christmas were pretty simple. With Claire, Scott, and the family away in New Hampshire, and Dave in the upper Midwest, vacationing with friends and relatives, I was going to stay at Mason Street to assure that the house ran like the proverbial well-oiled machine. Read the rest of this entry »

posted by Ken Hannaford-Ricardi in Houses of Hospitality, Worcester | on February 14th, 2011 | Permanent Link to “Mason Street Musings” | No Comments »

Catholic Worker banking: a question and some answers

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on June 5th, 2009

The Question

Dear Catholic Workers and friends,

The Saints Francis & Therese Catholic Worker community was founded in 1986. We did not want to be tax exempt and we did not want to receive any interest, so we opened an non-interest bearing checking account under the name “SS. Francis & Therese Catholic Worker.” Our bank called the account a club account and took my name and two other members of our community as signatories. For the past 15 years, my wife Claire and I have filed a tax return listing our personal income (from free-lance writing and public speaking) and have attached a letter on house stationary telling the IRS that our personal income was deposited in our house account and that we live and work in the Saints Francis & Therese Catholic Worker along with our four children, we do not receive salaries, but do have room and board which come out of private donations to our community. We also reported to the IRS how much was income was donated to our community and deposited in that account that are Fully-Verified and how many people were sheltered each year with those donations. The IRS never audited us or even asked us any questions.

Unfortunately, the manager of our bank called today and told me that our checking account was going to be closed in two weeks because it is no longer legal to have an account under a group name unless that account is a business account with a tax number different from my social security number. I called the IRS to ask them about this and a very nice woman listened to me explaining the Catholic Worker philosophy and our desire not to be tax exempt status or to receive interest. She suggested that we file to become a non-profit organization without tax exempt status, and I quoted Peter Maurin that the Catholic Worker is an organism not an organization. She dutifully referred to our community for the rest of the conversation as an organism. She told me that there was a form of nonprofit status that was not tax exempt, but admitted that it required considerably more documentation than we currently keep. She suggested that I talk to an accountant or tax attorney. I know neither.
Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 10: Benefit concert for the Saints Francis & Therese Catholic Worker

posted by Mike on January 9th, 2009

“Keeping the House Warm”



SATURDAY, January 10, 2009, 7 TO 9:30PM








For praying for an end of the war in Iraq



Workshop: Respecting transgender people living in shelters

posted by Mike on October 28th, 2008

“Implementing a Policy of Respect for Transgender People Living in Shelters”

Held at the SS. Francis & Therese Catholic Worker, 52 Mason St, Worcester, 7pm, October 29, 2008.

This is specifically for people who find themselves helping this segment of the population. In my experience, a lot of shelters are thrown for a loop when it comes to trans people.

One of the facilitators says, “This is not Trans 101. This is intended for people who already have a basic understanding of who trans people might be, and who are already committed to everyone’s basic right to dignity. It’s kind of nuts and bolts (what do I do about bathrooms, bedrooms, incidents w/ other residents, etc).”

Worcester Catholic Workers support DCU janitors

posted by Mike on August 25th, 2008

Yesterday at dinner at the SS. Francis & Therese CW somebody pointed out that “the hero,” meaning Diamond Dave Maciewski, was on the front page of Friday’s T&G business section.

Here’s a detail from the photo of an SEIU march supporting janitors at the DCU Center:

Also pictured: Laura Suroviak, Catholic Worker Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, and an unidentified man.

Wormtown Taxi points out that the newspaper coverage was light on background details. I think it’s a scandal that neither Indymedia nor the SEIU nor anyone else in the local blogosphere documented this online.

Mason Street Musings

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on July 28th, 2008

I took a call one afternoon from a friend seeking a bed for a woman named “Nancy.” For once, we had not only one empty bed, but three, so I said, “Certainly.” When Nancy arrived, clad in a skirt, blouse, hat, and purple wig, I was surprised to see she had a prominent Adam’s apple, a five-o’clock shadow, and a deep bass voice. Although we have had an enormous variety of guests over the years, people of different nationalities, religions, characteristics, and, on some occasions, sexual preferences, we have never had a man dressed like a woman.
Read the rest of this entry »

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy in Houses of Hospitality, Worcester | on July 28th, 2008 | Permanent Link to “Mason Street Musings” | No Comments »

Goslow profiles Worcester Catholic Worker community

posted by Mike on March 27th, 2008

What a delight to pick up today’s Worcester Magazine and see “Diamond Dave” Maciewski on the cover! (It’s from last week’s Stations of the Cross.)


The article is mostly about the Saints Francis & Thérèse Catholic Worker. Nice quote from co-founder Scott Schaeffer-Duffy:

“People think of anarchy as irresponsibility–but it’s not. It’s about individual responsibility.”

The article also touches on the Mustard Seed Catholic Worker soup kitchen, helmed by Donna Domiziano:

Following Catholic Worker doctrine, the Mustard Seed doesn’t apply for grants or seek state or federal funds.

“Day-by-day donations, that’s how we do it,” Domiziano says. “We live the gospel and it works.”

The only factual error I find was that he misspelled Ken Hannaford-Ricardi’s name. The funny thing is, the T&G misspelled his name last week in an article about the “rosary arrest.” I can’t tell you how much I will enjoy teasing Ken about this :)

Send WV Catholic Worker $1 to build house in Nepal

posted by Mike on January 21st, 2008

Jean Kirkhope: “It’s crazy to think I can fundraise $6,000 to build a house for a family in Nepal. Even if I asked one dollar from every person I knew, I’d still come up $5,730 short. But I’m told anything is possible with God and I’ve always been a sucker for an optimistic view of the world. So I guess I’ll start praying and asking a lot more people I don’t know, too!”


“Please send $1 in a secured envelope OR check or money order payable to:
The Catholic Worker Farm
c/o Jeannie Kirkhope
885 Orchard Run Rd.
Spencer, WV 25276”

Pie and Coffee article on Jean’s Catholic Worker farm

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