Monthly Archives: March 2009

HOUSE NEWS: No Roundtable, Fundraiser Instead; Local Cheese, More Blue House Pants, and Congratulations Patrick

Everyone in the garden!

Everyone in the garden!

Dear Friends,

For this week’s schedule – click here.

What a busy week! The alternative spring breakers from the University of Cincinnati were a joy to have at the house last week – and very productive as well! Not only did they clear part of the empty lot we’ll be using as our new house garden, but planted a number of things as well. Within a couple months, if all goes well, our guests will be feasting on home-grown tomatoes, peppers, corn, cucumbers, squash, and okra while enjoying beautiful sunflowers and zinnias. We can honestly say we couldn’t have done it without them. Click here to see more photos!

Before and After

Before and After

This Week’s Highlights:

Blue House PantsThis Thursday, 1 – 4:30. We’ve been invited to take part in a workshop sponsored by the Diocese of St. Augustine: “Caring for God’s Creation: A Catholic Response” on Saturday, May 2. And we’ll be bringing a long some Blue House Pants to sell. So we’ll be ramping up production over the next month, sewing every Thursday between 1 and 4:30 and on Saturday, April 11, between 10am and 3pm. If you know how to sew, come help! If you’re learning, we’ll put you to work while passing on some mad sewing skills.

Socrates Cafe at Dorothy’s Cafe this Wednesday: A Socrates Cafe is basically a philosophical discussion group. The Cafes are carried out all over the country and in different parts of the world, and they originated out of the fear that most people’s everyday conversations were brow-beating experiences that involved excessive talking and too little listening. In a Socrates Cafe, the participants together decide on the questions/topics to be discussed. (Topics can be on anything; for example, some past topics have been “What is a just war?” “Who owns human life?” “What is an excellent marriage?”) Emphasis is on an open sharing of thoughts and opinions.

One will be carried out at the Catholic Worker House this Wednesday April the 1st at 3PM (near the end of Dorothy’s Cafe). Any and all are welcome to participate! Tatiana Gumucio, a Catholic Worker House volunteer and UF grad student, will be facilitating the Socrates Cafe as part of her coursework in Facilitation Skills.

No Roundtable/Mass , but come eat soup at the IFAH Empty Bowls Fundraiser! – Due to several schedule conflicts, including the fundraiser, we are canceling this month’s mass. Please join us for soup at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 6 and support the GCW:

On Thursday April 2, 2009 International Fine Arts in Healing (IFAH) will be holding an event called Empty Bowls at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church (100 NE 1st St) from 6-8pm. “Empty bowls” is a nation-wide organization that works to combat hunger. Come join us for a simple soup and bread dinner, and take home a beautiful, handmade ceramic bowl! Tickets are $10, and all money made will be donated to the Jubilee House here in Gainesville , an organization that provides food to the hungry and homeless.

As well as soup, bread, and good company, we will have live entertainment featuring The Lower 13th St. “Good Time” Jazz Band, and a silent auction of handmade student and faculty artwork. Tickets are available to purchase now or at the door for $10.”

Fresh Local Cheese – A friend of the house raises goats and is beginning to sell goat cheese (up to now she’s just been delighting family and friends with it). Her dairy is not “certified” yet (an expensive process), but she uses the required methods and precautions in anticipation of having it certified. It is DELICIOUS, and we like knowing we’re supporting an up-and-coming local farmer when we eat it – spread on crackers, bread and bagels and plopped on chili so far. So far this spring she’s prepared batches of mild jalapeno, garlic and chive, and plain (you can salt and herb it yourself) at $10/pound. Raw goat milk is $8/gallon. If you’re interested in buying some, let us know, and we’ll be happy to connect you.

An Engagement and a Birthday?! No one can ever accuse Patrick of being lax in celebrating. Last week, Patrick popped the question to Catherine, and after a long negotiation, she said yes. So congrats to Patrick and Catherine! And congrats again to Patrick, whose birthday is coming up this Saturday, April 4th. Johnny and Patrick will be out-of-town in PA for his birthday but feel free to drop Patrick birthday wishes when you are at the house this week!

Patrick and Catherine

Patrick and Catherine

Have a good week. Hope to see you!

Kelli and GCW Community

HOUSE NEWS: The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away…and the Lord giveth back again

Dear friends,

For a complete list of what is going on this week, please click here.

CAR UPDATE: After a week of being awol, our vehicle was returned to us. It apparently was used for some–let’s just say, unsavory–activities. Thanks to someone in a Nissan Pathfinder almost running down a police officer in Williston last Tuesday night, police throughout the area were on the lookout for Nissan Pathfinders–the same model of our vehicle. And early Wednesday morning, GPD pulled over our vehicle, called us to come pick it up, and after a thorough cleaning, we have our vehicle back–not much worse for the wear. Thanks for all the kind emails last week!

IT WAS AROUND 32 DEGREES WHEN THEY LEFT CINCINNATI… But in the low seventies when they arrived in Gainesville. Saturday we welcomed a group of 8 from the University of Cincinnati to do an alternative spring break with us. If you have a chance to drop by and say hello, they’d love to meet you. They’ve already nearly cleared an empty lot for our new community garden (see below), celebrated Matthew’s birthday with us, and gotten to learn a little about the Catholic Worker and our home specifically. We have special talks and activities planned with them this week, so feel free to stop by the house and join us for any of these activities from Tuesday thru Saturday morning when they’ll leave to head back.

NEW COMMUNITY GARDEN PROJECT BEGINS: Kendera found and secured an empty lot about two blocks from our house for us to start a new community garden. We’re in the process of clearing the lot out this week and we’ll start planting, etc next week and in the weeks to come. Watch the “This Week” page regularly and the weekly email for regular garden hours if you’d like to join us. The food produced from the garden will be used at the Jubilee House, for Dorothy’s Cafe, and shared with friends from the neighborhood.

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO LEARN ABOUT ISLAM BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK: This week we’re really happy to have members of Islam on Campus (IOC) join us for Thursday’s Roundtable at 6pm. IOC members will share with us some of the basics about Islam and some of what they think every U.S. citizen should know about their faith. Join us for the discussion and bring a dish to share if you can!

BIRTHDAYS, REDUX: Also at the end of Thursday’s Roundtable, we’ll be celebrating Kimberly’s birthday! You can post messages of birthday happiness to Kim on her Facebook page (click here) or send us emails or post messages on the GCW Facebook page and we’ll be sure to pass your well-wishes on to here! Happy Birthday Kim!

ART FOR A CHANGE: Also this week, former live-in GCW community member Iris Zielske will be hosting a special art show to benefit her friends work on behalf of children in Tanzania. Here’s the scoop: “Art for a Change is a collective that uses what we can do (art & a sweet event) to change things that we wouldn’t normally be able to (ie. the life of an orphan in Tanzania). We have been collecting art and other handmade items and now we will sell the art and all proceeds will go to support Hananasif Orphanage in Tanzania. The event will be an art show, with live music and a raffle of items donated by local businesses, on Friday, March 27, 7 – 10pm at The Exchange – 815 W University Ave.
Check out for more information.”

FORMER GUEST PASSES AWAY: We also ask you to keep our friend Laurie and her family in your prayers. Laurie is a former guest at the house who passed away this week at the age of 35. She was a kind and sweet spirit and we are lucky to have had her as a friend.

In peace,


HOUSE NEWS: Kendera’s birthday, a FULL house and who stole our car?!

Dear friends,

For a complete list of what’s happening at the house this week, click here.

STOLEN CAR: Well, Spring Break is usually a fairly uneventful week at the GCW, seeing that we typically scale back a little, and the younger ones among us partake of the same spring fever that their counterparts at UF and SFC experience. But this past week, we were blessed with a story I’m sure will be remembered for as long as the GCW continues to exist. Our house vehicle got stolen. If it happened a little over a year ago, we would have had three vehicles, but one we gave away and the other we sold when it became too expensive to repair. So we were down to the Nissan Pathfinder that Anthony and Michelle Musalo so generously donated to the house about 4 years ago. The Pathfinder has also seen better days, but it was still good for hauling the fruits and vegetables we gleaned each week at the 441 Farmers’ Market, picking up groceries, helping formerly homeless friends move into apartments, etc.

But recently, if you put the Pathfinder into “park”, you’d be lucky if you ever got it out of park. So we took to leaving a key in the ignition, parking it in neutral, and locking all the doors nice and tight. Well, on Wednesday night, either we did not lock all the doors (I was the last one in the car, so maybe that should read “maybe I did not lock all the doors”) or someone saw the key and broke a window to get in. Either way, our car is gone. We filed a police report and several of our friends from the street have sworn they’ll find it, but we’re doubtful about seeing it again.

Soooooo … If anyone has any leads on a cheap car that runs good (preferably a station wagon or something with a little room for hauling stuff), let us know. Thanks!

KENDERA’S BIRTHDAY: Yes, Moraa’s mother is celebrating her birthday this week, Thursday, March 19th. Not sure if she wants her age known, so I’ll refrain from that information. We’ll celebrate at the Roundtable, but feel free to wish her a happy birthday anytime you’re by the house this week. Or leave her a message or share a story on the GCW Facebook page on the Discussion Board. Happy Birthday Kendera! (And a warning to all: this is the first of three weeks of birthday messages for folks living at the house. Counting Mohamed, four of our house community have birthdays within a month of each other.)

ROUNDTABLE ON HAITI THIS WEEK (WE HOPE): Junior St-Vil, executive director of Pax Christi Haiti, is supposed to be visiting us for the next two weeks if there are no problems with his travel. If so, he’ll be here Thursday to talk about Haiti and the economic and political situation there, as well as the work Pax Christi Haiti is doing with nonviolence education in the country. Check back later this week to see if Junior does make it here or if we have to switch speakers.

YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO MAKE SOME BLUE HOUSE PANTS: The Blue House Pants Project returns this Saturday, from 10am to 5pm. If you know how to sew or want to learn, click here to learn more.

A REAL FULL HOUSE: This week begins about 3 weeks of numerous guests. There are 9 of us living here full time, one current guest staying this week, Junior coming from Haiti for two weeks, and a group of 8(!) joining us for 8 days to do an alternative spring break with us. It will be the third year in a row we’ve had a group of students from the University of Cincinnati join us. They arrive Saturday, March 21. We hope many of you will get the chance to meet them and work with them while they’re here.

Lastly, thanks to everyone who pitched in to help with Brigade and Cafe this past week while many of our regular volunteers were gone. We are, as always, grateful and moved by your generosity!

In peace,


HOUSE NEWS: Only Cafes and Breakfast Brigade this week

Dear friends,

Due to UF and Santa Fe Spring Breaks and travel/breaks for several of our community members, we’re on a “skeleton schedule” this week. The only activities at the house this week are Dorothy’s Cafe (both Wednesday and Sunday) and Breakfast Brigade (Friday). Other than that, we’ll be in-and-out, doing some catch-up work and getting ready for a slew of extra visitors over the next 4-5 weeks.

DOROTHY’S CAFE AND BREAKFAST BRIGADE: This Wednesday, we’ll need extra help at Dorothy’s Cafe if you are in town and would like to help out. We’ll be shorthanded since most of our Wednesday volunteers are students (ditto for Breakfast Brigade on Friday morning). Prep is between 9:30 and noon, serving between noon and 5pm, and clean-up between 4:30 and 6. Great opportunity to come if you can! Also , we’re glad to have the good folks from United Church of Gainesville back to help this Sunday. The youth group from UCG will be hosting Sunday’s cafe–providing food and volunteers. We can usually use a few extra volunteers, so feel free to join us!

BLUE HOUSE PANTS PROJECT UPDATE: We held our second Blue House Pants workshop on Saturday and we’re really excited about the possibilities for this new project. For the full scoop, click here. For photos from this past Saturday’s workshop, click here.

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY MOHAMMED! Last week, Mohammed celebrated his 56th birthday. Patrick and Kim took him to see the Japanese drumming show at the Center for the Performing Arts. Click here to see photos.

Back to regular schedule next week!

In peace,


HOUSE NEWS: Blue House Pants begins, Thursday Mass, and more

Dear friends,

For a complete list of what is happening at the house this week, click here.

BLUE HOUSE PANTS BEGINS: A new project at the GCW! Kelli will write more about this in the weeks to come, but in a nutshell, if you know how to sew or want to learn to sew, join us twice-monthly to make “Blue House Pants.” At first, we’ll just be taking old fabric and using it to make pants, boxers, pajamas, etc. Our hope is that this work might turn into a real cottage industry down the line. Drop in to help anytime this Saturday between 10am and 3pm!

DEPRESSION AND DEPRESSION: Many of you are familiar with Kelli’s blog on “learning to live locally.” In recent days she’s been writing on several interesting topics, but most particularly, we wanted to share this blog post she wrote on our ongoing economic collapse and the emotional/spiritual repercussions of it. It’s interesting that the word “depression” has both economic and emotional/psychological/spiritual connotations. To read Kelli’s blog post, just click here.

OBSERVING LENT WITH THE GCW: As some of you might notice, this update is getting out about 2 days later than usual. Blame it on the liturgical season of Lent, that time of 40 days of preparation and repentance just before Easter. The direct blame is that as part of our Lenten discipline this year, as a community we are foregoing or “fasting” from electricity after sunset each day. No electric lights, television, computers, ovens, etc. And since I usually do this late Sunday nights… well, there you have it. If you’re interested in making the GCW part of your Lenten observance, click here for some past ideas that folks have had and some things we have planned for the next 40 days.

MONTHLY MASS AT THE GCW THIS THURSDAY: Join us this Thursday for our monthly Mass, celebrated by Fr. John Phillips, in lieu of our usual Roundtable. Mass will start at 6pm with dinner to follow. Bring a dish to share if you can.

SPRING BREAK MEANS SKELETON SCHEDULE: Next week is Spring Break for UF (and Santa Fe??) and that means we’ll be on a “skeleton schedule” at the house. We’ll still do next Wednesday’s Dorothy’s Cafe as well as next Friday’s Breakfast Brigade, but everything else–Roundtable, Scripture Study, etc–we’ll skip. If you’re going to be around, we can use extra help for both the cafe and BB next week since our regulars will be gone for the most part. So if you usually have a conflict–next week is your chance!

Don’t forget to join our group on Facebook if you’re on FB…

In peace,


OPINION: Depression and Depression

One facet of our “new economic reality” (what will it be called someday – the Great Collapse?) that warrants some thinking about is the emotional/spiritual side of this kind of loss. It’s been less than six months since the market took its historic plunge and the bailouts began, and most of us have been in a “wait and see” mode. But lately, I am hearing more and more about the repercussions of having the rug pulled out from under one – whether from young people who are about to graduate from college or from older ones who have seen their retirement money suddenly reduced by half.

Click here to read the rest of this post on Kelli’s blog at