The Catholic Worker

When I was sixteen attending Bishop McDonnell High school in Brooklyn, New York, my religion teacher, Sister Miriam Loretta, asked me and a few other of the girls to go with her to Manhattan to visit the Catholic Worker. Having been a rather sheltered young woman growing up in a quiet suburb, little did I know that it would be the first step in some life - changing experiences introduced to me by this nun.

The Catholic Worker was located in a tenement on Mott Street in a very poor and bustling neighborhood. The office was very busy as their monthly newspaper, which they distributed free of charge, was going to press that day. Their mission was to serve the poor and bring about societal changes that would promote social justice.

We toured an old bakery, that they had purchased through donations, where they would bake whole grain bread for the breadline. We were soon to see the breadline when we returned to the main store front. A long line had appeared as it was approaching lunch time. I was shocked at the appearance of these down and out men - sans teeth and decent clothing, looking hopeless. What struck me the most was the silence of the men in line. They didn't chat with each other at all - dead silence. I knew then it had to be despair that brought them to this place for a gift of soup and bread.

I grew up a lot that day and came to admire Dorothy Day, the founder, throughout my life.

Veronica M. Berrill
Southbury, CT 2011

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