October 27, 2020

Kristin Putnam, the author of this post, is a mom to 8, founder of NFPAware.com, and representative to the United Nations for an international NGO.] A political homily entitled “Staring into the Abyss” by Fr. Meeks has been floating around social media (over 2 million views on YouTube), and as it goes with these things, the priest is being heralded as a courageous hero by some who then try to use it to convince their political opponents that to be... Read more

September 7, 2020

Is a history of the Catholic Worker movement even possible, given the innately anarchic nature of those righteous and sometimes fractious misfits? At a minimum, we could learn from considering the lives of several key figures around Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. Luckily, oral historian Rosalie Riegle Troester has compiled such a book, her excellent Voices from the Catholic Worker, in which I first came across the name of Jim Forest. And now Forest, a self-described “reluctant activist,” has now written... Read more

August 24, 2020

The author of this guest post, Jacob Robbins (a nom de plume), is the son of German farmers and Ukrainian immigrants, and a night shift janitor and college drop out with a BA in Psychology who spends his off-time organizing action in local politics and evangelizing the working class. We at Solidarity Hall are interested observers of these movements, here offering a participant perspective. Identifying details in this post have been omitted or altered by the author for the protection... Read more

June 26, 2020

Image via www.nd.edu What year are we living in — or reliving? That is, what year of recent history? I’m thinking of the way we’re struggling to understand this moment by comparing it to other times of change and unrest, several of which I lived through myself. A popular pick, it appears, would be 1968, a year of protest and uprising (against the war in Vietnam and in reaction to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.), including riots in 110 cities,... Read more

May 4, 2020

Faith Seeking Conviviality, a new book from Samuel Ewell, a U.K.-based social entrepreneur, is grounded in the author’s lived experiences in the form of a seven-year long stay in Brazil. And yet it is also a kind of spiritual/intellectual travelogue with striking reflections on Christianity, culture, and this special thing called conviviality. For readers who have not yet looked into the work of 1970s icon Ivan Illich, the Catholic social theorist and tradition-based radical, Ewell has woven together alternating chapters... Read more

April 13, 2020

The unimaginable has occurred. Not only in the form of a deadly virus sweeping the planet. But also as a Great Silence that has, for a time at least, settled over the cities. For anyone who has learned to hear “the cry of the earth,” as theologian Leonardo Boff calls it, the coronavirus tragedy arrives with an unexpected dimension: a glimpse of another way of life, a kind of dream interval. We are all, in a way, Thoreau self-isolating in... Read more

March 30, 2020

Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by. We feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost. Last Friday, on a late afternoon in Lent — a Lenten season Catholics will remember for many years — the white-robed figure of Pope Francis, unaccompanied, silently... Read more

March 17, 2020

David Herrera is a retired professor of education at the University of San Diego. In 2000, he was on one of his several visits to the city of Mondragon in order to do interviews for a doctoral dissertation on the dynamics of worker participation in decision-making at the Mondragon cooperatives. His methodology included interviews with a number of Mondragon employees whose responses he noticed sometimes had a kind of lyrical quality. They also convey something of the spirit of cooperativism,... Read more

February 28, 2020

A question for these troubled times in the Church and perhaps in our personal faith commitment: What if spirituality were a community enterprise? This is the question theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez asks in his beautiful meditation, We Drink from Our Own Wells, originally published in 1984 with an introduction by Henri Nouwen and reprinted with a new preface by the author in 2003. (The book’s title is a sentence from Bernard of Clairvaux, “we drink from our own wells,” i.e., from our own... Read more

February 17, 2020

“It’s like a big house. A big house that belongs to everybody.” (Comment by a Mondragón worker.) Only recently I came across the marvelous German-language (with English subtitles: click the little CC button at lower right of screen) documentary, Mondragón: A Basque Cooperative, made in 2012 when the aftershocks of the 2008 financial collapse were still reverberating through Europe. It’s a revelation. The German film crew had heard that this network of cooperative businesses were withstanding the economic shock: no... Read more

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