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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Place for Families Part II- Crazy Ideas

I believe families can play a key role in the Catholic Worker Movement. Families should strive to be self sustaining and independent. Ideally, the needs of the family can be met on the homestead. Items that cannot be made or grown could be bartered for or purchased with money earned through the sale of surplus farm goods or labor. In addition, families could earn money by taking in guests and teaching self reliant skills. People on the road to self sufficiency could stay for a week, study gardening, and help in the harvest. Perhaps pick berries and then can them. Or a hands on course in voluntary poverty, and making do with less. The possibilities for educational outreach are only limited to the abilities of the families.
Husbands and fathers shouldn't have to spend 8 or more hours a day away from their families to earn enough money for life's necessities. Key word: necessities. Say you earn $10 an hour; is the latest techo gadget priced at $300 worth sitting at your desk 30 hours for? Would you work almost one week just for an Ipod? I would rather stay one step behind the Jones and spend more time at home.
These families could then support their local hospitality house through donation of excess produce, meat, dairy items, etc., thus cutting the operating cost of the house and the need for outside donations. Worker families could also volunteer their time as available at the hospitality house (which would also need some full time single, celibate resident workers.) Should the family experience a rough time, the house and other supporting families would be there to help out. It's a community without the commune. This model is similar to the current lifestyle of the Amish and some Mennonite, except their local church acts as a hospitality house. These believers place their trust so fully in the support of their congregations that most Amish and Mennonite do not have any type of insurance policy. A serious medical expense is shared by all, as is the lost wages from an accident at work. Shouldn't we, as Catholics, be able to expect the same from each other?