How We Survive…

Photo by: Dr. Tom Barnes

“Work as though everything
depends on you.
Pray as though everything
depends on God.”
~St. Ignatius of Loyola

Many other factors besides “ora et labora” (“pray & work” as St. Benedict would say) contribute to the survival of this Catholic Worker ministry…and minister. To me, all of them are manifestations of the One Source from which all good things come.

Funding for our ministries comes entirely from non-tax exempt donations we receive from groups and individuals who support our mission and participate in our programs.  Every cent you give goes directly to helping the people who need it most. Without *donors, the work here would not be able to continue.

In addition, the Catholic Committee of Appalachia employs me as its 3/4 time Director ( ). Without CCA, we might survive, but I wouldn’t be as happy.  My position gives me life-giving work and a strong network of like-minded friends.  My modest salary takes care of any ministerial overhead and keeps food on the table… kibble in the bowls…and cracked corn in the coop.

Over 1,500 volunteers have managed to find their way to this tiny Catholic Worker in the middle of nowhere.  They have given their time and used their talents to keep up the farm and serve the needs of people all over Roane County.  Their energy and enthusiasm lift up this depressed area and their work does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.  Plus, they come with strong desires to get to know the people they serve and to learn about the issues here.  In fact, a few stellar ones actually go home and do something about them!

Other Catholic Workers have been hard pressed to find a community as open, helpful, tolerant and loving as that which we’ve found here in Roane County.

Starting with our neighbors on Orchard Run, their watchfulness, guidance and suggestions have been invaluable in terms of our survival in the mountains.  Their assistance, hospitality and good-natured patience with volunteers have been the keys to success of that program.  Our church community at Holy Redeemer has graciously welcomed every group that has been here, and accepts us with open arms despite our faults and issues with the institutional Church.  The townspeople, store-keepers and small business owners bend over backwards for us and our guests showing us the warmth of hospitality that is indicative of Appalachia.  And, I don’t know if we would have been able to stick it out this long had it not been for the meaningful friendship, spiritual conversation, and the simple geographical proximity of the hippies.

FAMILY & FRIENDS (See also – *donors!)
It’s true. We hit up our own family and friends for cash.   The Appalachian Catholic Worker has either become their little charity, or Bill and I have become their little charity cases.  Regardless, they are the ones who keep us and this ministry going.  Financially, yes, but most importantly, they’ve been our biggest morale supporters despite long distances. Their love, encouragement, prayers, emails, phone calls, care packages and time spent here have meant the world to us. We love you guys.

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