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At Mary's House, we try to take anyone who needs hospitality, with minimum questions asked.  We don't do background or drug checks, and we don't as for ID.  We do ask some questions over the phone about a family's situation and needs, and we avoid taking people who are actively abusing drugs or alcohol, if we can.  We learn people's needs and problems by living with them.  Jim says everyone is perfect for two weeks, and then we get to know each other. 

Sometimes it becomes apparent that a person needs more structure than we have; sometimes people thrive in our rather loose setting.  Sometimes people are unpleasant to live with, sometimes people have their heads in the clouds, and sometimes they lie to us consistently.  Most often people are trying to do their best for themselves and their families, usually in very difficult situations.  We, of course, are also unpleasant at times, and often have our heads in the clouds - so we all have to learn to get along and make allowances for each other.  

When we reflect on the work we do here, we can only say that we house people who are in need; we provide food when people need it; we buy clothing and uniforms and bus passes and school supplies as needed; we try to provide a clean, safe, welcoming space for those who come to us.


Most of those who stay with us have multiple problems which we can't solve, but we can provide a respite so that they can regroup and go on.  Often people keep in touch when they leave, sending baby pictures and school photos, and coming back for food or bus passes or some other emergency need.  We try to help as best we can, so that they can remain housed.  Everything becomes exponentially harder if you lose your housing.  

Magnificat, February 2011

What the Catholic Worker Believes

The Catholic Worker believes

in the gentle personalism

of traditional Catholicism.

The Catholic Worker believes

in the personal obligation

of looking after

the needs of our brother and sister.

The Catholic Worker believes

in the daily practice

of the Works of Mercy.

The Catholic Worker believes

in Houses of Hospitality

for the immediate relief

of those who are in need.  

The Catholic Worker believes

in the establisment

of farming communes

where each one works

according to his ability

and gets

according to his need.

The Catholic Worker believes

in creating a new society

within the shell of the old

with the philosophy of the new, 

which is not a new philosophy

but a very old philosophy

a philosophy so old

that it looks like new.

Easy Essay

By:  Peter Maurin

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