The Catholic Worker Movement

On Poverty

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1952 May

"Poverty and Precarity" (DDLW #633)
An essay on the mystery and complexity of poverty, real and voluntary kinds. Enumerates the many forms of poverty, the irony of "poverty" in "rich" religious orders, and finally poverty as a means of helping the poor.

1966 December

"Reflections During Advent, Part Two"
"The Meaning of Poverty"
(DDLW #560)
Gives examples of false voluntary poverty and refutes the notion that real poverty doesn't exist. Challenges everyone to a personal response, not a government one, to poverty and to ask ourselves "What shall we do?" Gives examples and concludes that all can do something and that whatever work of mercy we perform we "do it for love of Jesus, in His humanity, for love of our brother, for love of our enemy." Points to the scandal of the wealth of the Church and thanks God for the sacraments and the Word in the Scriptures--our light and our food.

1948 January

On Pilgrimage,
December
(DDLW #486)
Meditation on the spiritual weapons of voluntary poverty and manual labor. Lists work to be avoided and personal practices of nonparticipation while exploitation in labor continues. Calls for decentralized living. Recommends growing in acceptance of God's providence and seeing good in others. Reflects on silence during Advent, a time of waitning and a time to examine one's conscience, a time "to see only what is loveable."

1945 February

"More About Holy Poverty. Which Is Voluntary Poverty." (DDLW #150)
"Am I my brothers keeper?" Argues that increased state intervention limits personal freedom and responsibility. Sees the social security legislation and other state programs as taking responsibility from the community, parish, family and person. Voluntary poverty on the other hand promotes responsibility, since it comes directly from the person.

1948 May

"Without Poverty We Are Powerless" (DDLW #468)
Asserts the importance of voluntary poverty even if it means we are fools for Christ. Then gives a loving appreciation of Peter Maurin's holy poverty, blending light-hearted stories and a graphic description of his dementia and silent suffering. Quotes from Fr. Faber on death in anticipation of Peter's death within a year.

1950 April

"Poverty Without Tears" (DDLW #230)
Reviews several books on voluntary poverty, especially Poverty by Fr. Regamey. Elaborates on the joy of, objections to, and purpose of voluntary poverty. Rejects capitalist and communist solutions to real poverty, pointing to decentralization and distributism as the answer.

1952 December

"Poverty is the Face of Christ" (DDLW #641)
Describes the struggle in establishing farming communes as Peter Maurin taught. Poverty, toil, and suffering are bore by the young families trying to live on the land. She writes to comfort these fellow workers who live day by day.

1953 April

"Poverty Is to Care And Not to Care" (DDLW #647)
Reflects on the struggle to achieve voluntary poverty in small steps and for a lifetime. Notes that even honorable work involves taxes used for war. Condemns advertising for increasing desires often leading people to poverty.

1964 February

"On Pilgrimage - February 1964" (DDLW #812)
Reflects on voluntary poverty against the backdrop of stories of theft and being taken advantage of by guests. Asks if we are ready to be robbed of our goods, relinquish what we have, and share with the poor. "Do we really welcome poverty as liberating?"

1966 April

"Poverty and Destitution" (DDLW #838)
Through graphic stories of guests at the Worker she distinguishes between poverty ("the poor have some hope.) and destitution ("The destitute are ill and lonely, the hopeless ones.") Also distinguishes poverty, voluntary poverty, and holy poverty. Keywords: anarchism, pacifist