Dear friends of Casa de Clara,
As I sit down to write this letter, it is the day after the U.S. Presidential Election. Nine hours ago, Donald Trump was declared the next President of the United States. This is unmistakably bad news. Trump’s campaign espoused racism, sexism, xenophobia, intolerance, and greed. I fear for the world knowing that a man of his temperament and judgment will soon command our nuclear arsenal.
And yet, there is good news, too – the Good News. In these days of confusion and anxiety, it can be helpful to return to the stories that have shaped us as Christians. We believe in the Incarnation, which means, in part, that we always knew our salvation would not come from Caesar, or the Presidency. Rather, the fundamental insight of the Christmas story is that our hope and salvation come from a refugee child, a persecuted family, a homeless infant with nowhere to lay his head. In other words, if we look up to the Presidency for hope, we will always be disappointed, no matter who wins the election. Instead, God invites us to go to the margins – to the poor, the mentally ill, and the forgotten – and there find the power of God at work.
This morning I joined the Daughters of Charity for morning prayer and mass in Los Altos. As the sun slowly rose over the hills and lit up the chapel, a dozen or so sisters in blue habits prayed the Canticle of Zachariah, listened to the Word, and partook of the Eucharist, just as they had done the day before, and just as they would do the following day. Afterward, they each went on their way, to schools, to hospitals, and to parishes, to serve the poor. This example of daily faithfulness has much to teach us about the Christian life. The country may have a new President-elect, but our work as disciples remains the same: to pray, to love those in our care, to resist violence and corporate greed.
We are reminded of Dorothy Day’s words: “People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds are like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.”
For those of us at the Catholic Worker, this means caring for the six women and children who live in our home. It means beginning and ending the day in prayer. It means asking Daniel how school was today, even if the answer is the same every day (a shrug and a mumbled, “I don’t know.”) It means offering hot showers twice a week to our brothers and sisters living on the streets. It means delivering groceries to needy families in the neighborhood. It means opening the door and choosing to see the face of Christ.
This is what the Catholic Worker tradition calls direct action, and it is the best antidote I know to despair. In the face of widespread poverty and homelessness, we offer shelter, even if only to a handful. In the face of hunger, we offer food. In the face of violence and injustice, we offer resistance with our lives. By the time you read this, I will have returned from Standing Rock, North Dakota, where I hope to represent Casa de Clara in supporting the struggle of native Water Protectors who are engaged in precisely this work: putting their prayers and their bodies in the way of an oil pipeline that threatens their water and livelihood.
Yes, we have a new President-elect, but our task remains the same. You, too, have been given people to love today: your students, patients, or customers, your bosses and employees, your family and friends, your neighbors rich and poor. The Reign of God is born again today, not in the Presidency, but in our lives and in our communities. Let us continue to support one another as we strive to bear witness to the Good News.
Love and Peace,
on behalf of the Catholic Worker community
Please consider using this link (https://www.givlet.org/donate/T62f/) to make a holiday contribution to the work of Casa de Clara. All of our ministries – our house for women and children, Showers to the People!, our food distribution program, our door ministry to individuals experiencing homelessness, direct assistance for rent and security deposits – rely solely on generous contributions from individuals like you.
We do not receive funding from the government, foundations, or the diocese. This allows us to remain independent, and flexible in meeting the needs of our neighbors in need. The full-time Catholic Worker community (Andrew, Fumi, Julian, and Lisa) receives only a small monthly stipend, and the rest of your contributions go directly into our work. Thank you for your generous support.
Regular events at the Catholic Worker:
- Friday night prayer @ 7:30 p.m.
- 1st Saturday liturgy & potluck @ 11 a.m.
- 4th Friday peace vigil at Lockheed-Martin and every Friday during Advent and Lent.
Meet at the house @ 6:30 AM or at Java & Mathilda in Sunnyvale @ 7:00AM.
Casa needs. Can you help?
- Food in any amount; We operate a food distribution for needy families in the neighborhood on Wednesdays and Fridays. The best times to drop off food are Wednesdays and Fridays before 1 p.m.
- Donations: Checks can be made out to Casa de Clara Catholic Worker, or donate at www.sjcw.org
- Cars: for many of our guests, transportation is their biggest need after housing. We are grateful for any working vehicle you can give to us. We currently have an alumn that is need of a car.
- Household items: we currently need toilet paper, laundry detergent for a high-efficiency machine and hand soap refills.