The Catholic Worker Movement

By Victoria Newman, ’15

The Catholic Worker movement, founded in 1933, has sprawled from its humble beginnings to become an international network of communities, remaining continually “committed to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer, and hospitality for the homeless, exiled, hungry, and forsaken.”  The movement was originally spearheaded by French peasant Peter Maurin and Catholic convert journalist Dorothy Day.  Understanding the Catholic Worker as an intentional community movement requires the historical background of its origins (including some biography of its founders), an analysis of the Catholic Worker’s tradition of resistance, and a study of hospitality as it enables other activities of the community.  The Catholic Worker is unique from many other intentional communities because of its large scope and long tenure of existence and success.  While certainly unique, the Catholic Worker has come to influence other communities that have sprung up in its legacy.  This essay attempts to give a brief and insightful look at that legacy and ultimate impact.

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