“I was a stranger and you made me welcome”

“I was a stranger and you made me welcome”  (Matt. 25)

April 2017
Dear Friends,
My wife, Ronnie, has taught in Redwood City’s public elementary schools for the past 20 years.  This January, children in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades came to school crying because they were terrified that their mommy and dad might get deported.  Many parents draft wills and trusts designating an uncle, aunt or close friend to care for their small children in case both parents suddenly die.  Imagine being undocumented parents with small or high school age children who are U.S. citizens.  Imagine worrying about an immigration raid (ICE) that quickly leads to losing your mother and father.  Your children are at pre-school and no one comes to pick them up or your teenage child comes home to an empty house – these are very very real fears today for many of our neighbors.  One family (Ronnie taught their 3rd grader nine years ago) has filled out the papers designating Ronnie and I as the guardian of their three children if they are deported.  What a worry!!!!

Two other families who lived at the Catholic Worker for free for 2 years and 1 year respectively saved $23,000 and $14,000 each. These two very poor families  used all of the money they saved to purchase homes in Mexico in case they lose everything here by being deported.  This is their plan “B”.

Susan Crane has been a live-in Catholic Worker with us for 5 years.  Her compassion is legendary.   She has been going to meetings of Faith in Action to help develop a network of volunteers who would agree to arrive at nearby locations as ICE  conducts a raid.  “RAPID RESPONSE” hopes to get volunteer supporters (citizens) to help undocumented sisters and brothers by arriving within 7 minutes of an immigration raid.  Packets of information have been developed to help immigrants respond safely and legally to a knock at their door from ICE.  These same packets contain forms for parents to designate who will care for their little ones in case of an emergency  as well as a page of “Know Your Rights.”   If you wish to be part of “Rapid Response” or if you know someone who needs a packet of information, call Susan or Larry  (650) 366-4415.

REFUGEES: by Brian Bilston


They have no need of our help
So do not tell me
These haggard faces could belong to you or me
Should life have dealt a different hand
We need to see them for who they really are
Chancers and scroungers
Layabouts and loungers
With bombs up their sleeves
Cut-throats and thieves
They are not
Welcome here
We should make them
Go back to where they came from
They cannot
Share our food
Share our homes
Share our countries
Instead let us
Build a wall to keep them out
It is not okay to say
These are people just like us
A place should only belong to those who are born there
Do not be so stupid to think that
The world can be looked at another way.     (NOW READ BOTTOM TO TOP)


  1. FOOD  in any amount.
  2. Household needs: laptop computers and electronic stuff for teens, firewood (split), a vacuum cleaner for Aida, carts and re-useable bags for the elderly who line up for food every Friday at the Catholic  Worker,  musical instruments, tools, paper towels, an electric fan, hand soap, Comet, etc.
  3. Transportation: After housing and jobs the next priority is “getting there.” We need bikes, cars, trucks and R.V’s. By the way, San Bruno Catholic Worker is building a second “Tiny House” on wheels and we need a church, business, or home to park it with a sewer hook up.
  4. Teacher Assistants for our English Language School–one night a week, Spanish is not necessary.  Our
    School is growing and now has 120 plus students.   Call Pam (650-365-6019).
  5. A House or money to buy a house for a new Catholic Worker center. Call Larry for a free cup of coffee. 
  6. Work for day laborers. Call Cesar at (650) 339-2794.
  7. Your ongoing love and support and don’t forget to check out our website:  http://www.rwdcw.wordpress.com

                               Holy Easter,

                               Larry Purcell, Ronnie Georges, Sr. Mary Jane Floyd, Jan Johanson, Aida Figueroa,
J. Arthur 
White, Susan Crane and Doug Herbek

P.S. Mary Jane continues to live at the Presentation Mother House (415) 752-1602. Her address is 2340 Turk Blvd,  S.F. CA. 94118.   She is an angel among us.


February Newsletter 2017

            “I thank my God whenever I think of you…remembering how you helped to spread the Good News from the day you first heard it right up to the present.” (Philippians 1)

Dear Friends,
Sister Mary Jane Floyd has been a teacher ever since she entered the convent at age 17. Over 40 years ago, she helped found the Catholic Worker House in Redwood City.  While she has had other jobs, M.J. has always been a teacher at heart. She is a pro. For the past 20 years, she has directed (along with other women) our English Language School. What a force!!! I call her the “steel butterfly.” She embodies the Gospel and we love her so much.

mjblossom  Due to a series of health problems, Mary Jane now lives at the Presentation Sisters’ Motherhouse. If it were up to Mary Jane, she would be back at the English Language School tutoring kids tomorrow. But, while her spirit is willing, her body just can’t do it. Please feel free to write or visit Sr. Mary Jane Floyd at: Presentation Motherhouse, 2340 Turk Blvd in San Francisco, Calif. 94118.

“I was stranger and you made me welcome.”   (Matt.25)

Notre Dame University in Belmont called and asked if one of their graduate students could live with us to finish her education. We said “yes.”

Fatimah came to the U.S. on a student visa. Allah is her God. Islam is her religion and the middle east was her home. Her full scholarship (room board and education) came from her government. By custom, simply because she is a woman, her scholarship depended upon her father’s approval. At some point, Fatimah’s dad arranged (as is the custom there) the perfect husband for her back home. When she refused to marry a stranger, her father withdrew approval and all support disappeared. Without financial assistance, Fatimah continued her education and owed the university $17,000. She wanted to enroll in January 2017 for classes, but was told she had to pay at least half of her debt in order to register for classes. If she were not in school, then she would lose her student visa and could be deported home. Five generous supporters of the Catholic Worker donated $9,000 to pay half of her debt and the university re-enrolled her this January (she can finish her Master’s degree by Dec. 2017).

Having taken care of housing and education, our next big hurdle was transportation to and from school. Many of Fatimah’s classes were at night and got her home after 10pm.  She needed a car. Other supports came to the rescue and put together a gift of a car for Fatimah, along with free maintenance.

As if that were not enough, the Romero Foundation (a very strong and effective advocate for vulnerable immigrants) took up Fatimah’s cause and have found and paid an immigration lawyer to handle her asylum claim. If she were to return home she would be in physical danger.

It takes a village to raise a person. . . we can’t do everything but we can all do something…act locally and think globally…arms are for hugging….all these phrases take on new meaning when a refugee is knocking at the door, crying in your arms, and seeking a home.

Have a Holy Lent,

Larry Purcell, Ronnie Georges, Sr. Mary Jane Floyd, Jan Johanson, J.Arthur White, Susan Crane, Aida Figueroa, & Doug Herbek.


  1. Food in any amount.
  1. Household Needs: lap top computers for college students, paper towels, tickets to events, tools (gardening and construction), sleeping bags, socks, a small dining room or kitchen table, a vacuum cleaner, power washer, vehicles and bikes, an exterior wooden door 69 ¾” X 28”   etc.
  1. Day Laborers: If you need gardeners, haulers, carpenters, painters, craftsmen or handymen call Cesar  (650) 339-2794.
  1. Homeless friends need: ponchos, long underwear, jackets, sleeping bags, socks, sweat shirts, etc. Call Susan or Doug (650) 366-4415.
  1. A house or money to buy a house. Call Larry for a hot cup of coffee (650) 366-4415.
  1. Susan Crane has been a live-in Catholic Worker for the past 5 years. Susan has spent more time in prison for non-violent protests to nuclear weapons than she has been with us.  A peace group in Germany has invited a delegation, which Susan is part of, from the US  to lead non-violent workshops and participate in their peace camp this summer. If you want to help Susan with her $1,100 budget send a check to the Catholic Worker and earmark it for Susan and help resist nuclear madness.
  1. While Sr. Mary Jane has been away, Pam Hitchcock has taken over M.J.’s role at the English Language School. Pam’s phone number is (650) 365-6019.  Currently, there are almost 100 students enrolled in our English Language   School. By the way, we have a bid to paint the outside of the school for $4,000.
  1. Your ongoing love and support.



50th Papal Message for World Day of Peace: Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace

Pope Francis  has released the 50th papal Message for the World Day of Peace, which is on January 1st.  “Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace”  Pope Francis is calling for a renewed culture of nonviolence to inform our lives and global politics, saying military responses to conflicts only breed more violence.

1.    At the beginning of this New Year, I offer heartfelt wishes of peace to the world’s peoples and nations, to heads of state and government, and to religious, civic and community leaders.  I wish peace to every man, woman and child, and I pray that the image and likeness of God in each person will enable us to acknowledge one another as sacred gifts endowed with immense dignity.  Especially in situations of conflict, let us respect this, our “deepest dignity”,  and make active nonviolence our way of life.

This is the fiftieth Message for the World Day of Peace.  In the first, Blessed Pope Paul VI addressed all peoples, not simply Catholics, with utter clarity.  “Peace is the only true direction of human progress – and not the tensions caused by ambitious nationalisms, nor conquests by violence, nor repressions which serve as mainstay for a false civil order”.  He warned of “the danger of believing that international controversies cannot be resolved by the ways of reason, that is, by negotiations founded on law, justice, and equity, but only by means of deterrent and murderous forces.”  Instead, citing the encyclical Pacem in Terris of his predecessor Saint John XXIII, he extolled “the sense and love of peace founded upon truth, justice, freedom and love”.    In the intervening fifty years, these words have lost none of their significance or urgency.

On this occasion, I would like to reflect on nonviolence as a style of politics for peace.  I ask God to help all of us to cultivate nonviolence in our most personal thoughts and values.  May charity and nonviolence govern how we treat each other as individuals, within society and in international life.  When victims of violence are able to resist the temptation to retaliate, they become the most credible promotors of nonviolent peacemaking.  In the most local and ordinary situations and in the international order, may nonviolence become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions, and indeed of political life in all its forms.

A broken world

2.    While the last century knew the devastation of two deadly World Wars, the threat of nuclear war and a great number of other conflicts, today, sadly, we find ourselves engaged in a horrifying world war fought piecemeal.  It is not easy to know if our world is presently more or less violent than in the past, or to know whether modern means of communications and greater mobility have made us more aware of violence, or, on the other hand, increasingly inured to it.

In any case, we know that this “piecemeal” violence, of different kinds and levels, causes great suffering: wars in different countries and continents; terrorism, organized crime and unforeseen acts of violence; the abuses suffered by migrants and victims of human trafficking; and the devastation of the environment.  Where does this lead?  Can violence achieve any goal of lasting value?  Or does it merely lead to retaliation and a cycle of deadly conflicts that benefit only a few “warlords”?

Violence is not the cure for our broken world.  Countering violence with violence leads at best to forced migrations and enormous suffering, because vast amounts of resources are diverted to military ends and away from the everyday needs of young people, families experiencing hardship, the elderly, the infirm and the great majority of people in our world.  At worst, it can lead to the death, physical and spiritual, of many people, if not of all.

The Good News

3.    Jesus himself lived in violent times.  Yet he taught that the true battlefield, where violence and peace meet, is the human heart: for “it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come” (Mk 7:21).  But Christ’s message in this regard offers a radically positive approach.  He unfailingly preached God’s unconditional love, which welcomes and forgives.  He taught his disciples to love their enemies (cf. Mt 5:44) and to turn the other cheek (cf. Mt 5:39).  When he stopped her accusers from stoning the woman caught in adultery (cf. Jn 8:1-11), and when, on the night before he died, he told Peter to put away his sword (cf. Mt 26:52), Jesus marked out the path of nonviolence.  He walked that path to the very end, to the cross, whereby he became our peace and put an end to hostility (cf. Eph 2:14-16).  Whoever accepts the Good News of Jesus is able to acknowledge the violence within and be healed by God’s mercy, becoming in turn an instrument of reconciliation.  In the words of Saint Francis of Assisi: “As you announce peace with your mouth, make sure that you have greater peace in your hearts”.

To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence.  As my predecessor Benedict XVI observed, that teaching “is realistic because it takes into account that in the world there is too much violence, too much injustice, and therefore that this situation cannot be overcome except by countering it with more love, with more goodness.  This ‘more’ comes from God”.   He went on to stress that: “For Christians, nonviolence is not merely tactical behaviour but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is so convinced of God’s love and power that he or she is not afraid to tackle evil with the weapons of love and truth alone.  Love of one’s enemy constitutes the nucleus of the ‘Christian revolution’”.   The Gospel command to love your enemies (cf. Lk 6:27) “is rightly considered the magna carta of Christian nonviolence. It does not consist in succumbing to evil…, but in responding to evil with good (cf. Rom 12:17-21), and thereby breaking the chain of injustice”.

More powerful than violence 

4.    Nonviolence is sometimes taken to mean surrender, lack of involvement and passivity, but this is not the case.  When Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she clearly stated her own message of active nonviolence: “We in our family don’t need bombs and guns, to destroy to bring peace – just get together, love one another…  And we will be able to overcome all the evil that is in the world”.   For the force of arms is deceptive.  “While weapons traffickers do their work, there are poor peacemakers who give their lives to help one person, then another and another and another”; for such peacemakers, Mother Teresa is “a symbol, an icon of our times”.   Last September, I had the great joy of proclaiming her a Saint.  I praised her readiness to make herself available for everyone “through her welcome and defence of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded…  She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity; she made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crimes – the crimes! – of poverty they created”.   In response, her mission – and she stands for thousands, even millions of persons – was to reach out to the suffering, with generous dedication, touching and binding up every wounded body, healing every broken life.

The decisive and consistent practice of nonviolence has produced impressive results.  The achievements of Mahatma Gandhi and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in the liberation of India, and of Dr Martin Luther King Jr in combating racial discrimination will never be forgotten.  Women in particular are often leaders of nonviolence, as for example, was Leymah Gbowee and the thousands of Liberian women, who organized pray-ins and nonviolent protest that resulted in high-level peace talks to end the second civil war in Liberia.

Nor can we forget the eventful decade that ended with the fall of Communist regimes in Europe.  The Christian communities made their own contribution by their insistent prayer and courageous action.  Particularly influential were the ministry and teaching of Saint John Paul II.  Reflecting on the events of 1989 in his 1991 Encyclical Centesimus Annus, my predecessor highlighted the fact that momentous change in the lives of people, nations and states had come about “by means of peaceful protest, using only the weapons of truth and justice”.   This peaceful political transition was made possible in part “by the non-violent commitment of people who, while always refusing to yield to the force of power, succeeded time after time in finding effective ways of bearing witness to the truth”.  Pope John Paul went on to say: “May people learn to fight for justice without violence, renouncing class struggle in their internal disputes and war in international ones”.

The Church has been involved in nonviolent peacebuilding strategies in many countries, engaging even the most violent parties in efforts to build a just and lasting peace.

Such efforts on behalf of the victims of injustice and violence are not the legacy of the Catholic Church alone, but are typical of many religious traditions, for which “compassion and nonviolence are essential elements pointing to the way of life”.   I emphatically reaffirm that “no religion is terrorist”.   Violence profanes the name of God.   Let us never tire of repeating: “The name of God cannot be used to justify violence.  Peace alone is holy.  Peace alone is holy, not war!”

The domestic roots of a politics of nonviolence

5.    If violence has its source in the human heart, then it is fundamental that nonviolence be practised before all else within families.  This is part of that joy of love which I described last March in my Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, in the wake of two years of reflection by the Church on marriage and the family.  The family is the indispensable crucible in which spouses, parents and children, brothers and sisters, learn to communicate and to show generous concern for one another, and in which frictions and even conflicts have to be resolved not by force but by dialogue, respect, concern for the good of the other, mercy and forgiveness.   From within families, the joy of love spills out into the world and radiates to the whole of society.   An ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence between individuals and among peoples cannot be based on the logic of fear, violence and closed-mindedness, but on responsibility, respect and sincere dialogue.  Hence, I plead for disarmament and for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons: nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutual assured destruction are incapable of grounding such an ethics.   I plead with equal urgency for an end to domestic violence and to the abuse of women and children.

The Jubilee of Mercy that ended in November encouraged each one of us to look deeply within and to allow God’s mercy to enter there.  The Jubilee taught us to realize how many and diverse are the individuals and social groups treated with indifference and subjected to injustice and violence.  They too are part of our “family”; they too are our brothers and sisters.  The politics of nonviolence have to begin in the home and then spread to the entire human family.  “Saint Therese of Lisieux invites us to practise the little way of love, not to miss out on a kind word, a smile or any small gesture which sows peace and friendship.  An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures that break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness”.

My invitation

6.    Peacebuilding through active nonviolence is the natural and necessary complement to the Church’s continuing efforts to limit the use of force by the application of moral norms; she does so by her participation in the work of international institutions and through the competent contribution made by so many Christians to the drafting of legislation at all levels.  Jesus himself offers a “manual” for this strategy of peacemaking in the Sermon on the Mount.  The eight Beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:3-10) provide a portrait of the person we could describe as blessed, good and authentic.  Blessed are the meek, Jesus tells us, the merciful and the peacemakers, those who are pure in heart, and those who hunger and thirst for justice.

This is also a programme and a challenge for political and religious leaders, the heads of international institutions, and business and media executives: to apply the Beatitudes in the exercise of their respective responsibilities.  It is a challenge to build up society, communities and businesses by acting as peacemakers.  It is to show mercy by refusing to discard people, harm the environment, or seek to win at any cost.  To do so requires “the willingness to face conflict head on, to resolve it and to make it a link in the chain of a new process”.   To act in this way means to choose solidarity as a way of making history and building friendship in society.  Active nonviolence is a way of showing that unity is truly more powerful and more fruitful than conflict.  Everything in the world is inter-connected.   Certainly differences can cause frictions.  But let us face them constructively and non-violently, so that “tensions and oppositions can achieve a diversified and life-giving unity,” preserving “what is valid and useful on both sides”.

I pledge the assistance of the Church in every effort to build peace through active and creative nonviolence.  On 1 January 2017, the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development will begin its work.  It will help the Church to promote in an ever more effective way “the inestimable goods of justice, peace, and the care of creation” and concern for “migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture”.   Every such response, however modest, helps to build a world free of violence, the first step towards justice and peace.

In conclusion

8.    As is traditional, I am signing this Message on 8 December, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Mary is the Queen of Peace.  At the birth of her Son, the angels gave glory to God and wished peace on earth to men and women of good will (cf. Luke 2:14).  Let us pray for her guidance.

“All of us want peace.  Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers”.   In 2017, may we dedicate ourselves prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds, and to becoming nonviolent people and to build nonviolent communities that care for our common home. “Nothing is impossible if we turn to God in prayer. Everyone can be an artisan of peace”.

From the Vatican, 8 December 2016

December Newsletter 2016

“Jesus stands at the door knocking. In total reality, he comes in the form of the beggar,
of the dissolute human child in ragged clothes, asking for help. He confronts you in
every person that you meet. As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth
as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes
demands on you. That is the great seriousness and great blessedness of the
Advent message. Christ is standing at the door; he lives in the form of a human
being among us.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “God Is In the Manger”

Christmas 2016

Dear Friends,           

Two thousand years ago in a small village, in an occupied country, a baby was born of an unwed mom and a slightly confused dad.  This Holy Family quickly became undocumented refugees in Egypt.  From these humble beginnings, a band of brothers and sisters arose with the grace of God.  So much has changed since then.

Two thousand years from now, if our species survives threats like climate change and nuclear annihilation, there will be even greater changes than we can imagine.  The arc of history has been and will be toward full equality between men and women.  Mortal enemies of yesterday (France and England,  Japan and the USA, Germany and Poland) are and will become one world.  The arc of history, if we are to survive, must lead to a world without war. (Note: in every war today, 2/3 of all casualties are innocent civilians). 

Feudalism ruled our world from about the 9th to the 15th century.  Primogeniture, surfs, lords, education only for rich male heirs were all common and accepted as the way things were and would be forever.  They are ending. Democracy is new.  Marrying for love is in its infancy. Women’s right to vote is less than a hundred years old.

So much has changed and will change.

The light of Christmas, born in a stable, is an invitation to each and all of us to be on the right side of the arc of history.  Women’s rights, civil rights, a world without war, equality for all with one God – this is our future, if we give ourselves enough time to travel there as brothers and sisters.  For now, in our lives and work, we try to feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned and find Christ. (Matt 25)

Have a Holy Christmas,

Larry Purcell, Ronnie Georges, Sr. Mary Jane Floyd,
Jan Johanson, Aida Figueroa, Susan Crane,
Doug Herbek and J. Arthur 

P.S. If you believe that the above is pie-in-the-sky, then remember, cannibalism was once an acceptable way to survive.


  1. FOOD in any amount. 
  2. Household needs:  quart size freezer bags, tickets to events, bikes (locks and lights, too), lap top computers, ipods, cars, RV’s, brooms, a power washer, a handy man to fix little things, detergent, cleanser, Pine Sol etc.
  3. Day Laborers: If you need gardeners, haulers carpenters, plumbers, craftsmen or handymen call Cesar or Juan Carlos (650) 339-2794.
  4. Homeless friends need: sleeping bags, blankets, socks, ponchos, long underwear, tents, camping equipment, and warm jackets & sweat shirts.  Call Susan or Doug (650) 366-4415.
  5. A house or money to buy a house. Call Larry for a free cup of coffee. (650) 366-4415.
  6. Your ongoing love and support. This year we are helping 5 college students with  individual $3,000 grants.

November Newsletter 2016

Give thanks to Yahweh, for she is good,
Her love is everlasting!
Give thanks to the God of gods,
His love is everlasting!
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
His love is everlasting.       (Psalm 136)

Dear Friends,
      As Thanksgiving approaches, we bow to our God and to our supporters in deep deep gratitude for all of the gifts that make our lives and work possible.
So much is happening!!!  Susan Crane (who lives and works at our home for teens) and two other supporters (Ed Ehmke and Mary Jane Parrine) are off to North Dakota.  They will stand with our Native American brothers and sisters in solidarity.  They and hundreds of others will non-violently and prayerfully oppose the oil pipeline that threatens sacred burial grounds, towns and waterways, that service millions downstream.  Again and again big oil interests threaten and destroy life.
Erika and her two sons have just moved into our home for children “at risk.”
         The boys are in Hoover School and their mom just got a full time job. They need everything.  With your donations we purchased school uniforms, shoes, jackets, underwear and a few other things.  As soon as mom saves money for car insurance, we’ll find a donated car so she can shuttle the kids to school and herself to a better job.
           Another young woman (a student from Notre Dame University in Belmont) just joined us for the rest of this school year.  She is from the Middle East and had no place to live.  Believe me, it’s complicated!  She joins Marissa (another Notre Dame student).  Marissa used to live with us when she was a little girl and is one of the teens that we have been helping with a $2,000 scholarship.  In addition to 15 academic units, Marissa is also working almost full time.
Aida, Susan and I (Larry) have been at the house for years.  Doug is our newest live-in worker.  A lawyer, a graduate of the Peace Corps, and former monk, and with some experience at other Catholic Worker Houses, Doug comes with loads of talent and history.  God willing, he’ll be here a while too.
In addition to our home on Cassia Street (for children in need) which is totally free, we continue to offer very, very low cost housing to 12 day laborers and six families.  In these residences, the first month is free, December is free, and if you lose your job, then your minimal stipend for room and board is forgiven. This is bad capitalism at work and is the way Christians can treat one another.
Altogether, each night, we help house about 25 people, not counting the campers on our front porch. By the way, after 2 years of working with veterans, we’ve decided that they need “care” and “management” that we can’t provide.  I must say, that when I write this it feels like a defeat.
This Thanksgiving and Christmas, we will adopt over 300 families with food and gifts.  All of our work relies on the grace of God and the Body of Christ, which you all are.

Thank God we are in good hands.
Peace and gratitude,
            Larry Purcell, Ronnie Georges, Mary Jane Floyd, Jan Johanson, J Arthur White,
Aida Figueroa, Susan Crane and Doug Herbek


  1. Food in any amount.
  2. Holiday needs:  gift certificates to Safeway, Target, Old Navy, Payless Shoes,movie passes (Cinemark), and unwrapped gifts for children and adults including the homeless, and men & women in convalescent care, etc.
  3. Household needs:  garbage bags. laptop computers  (for high school and college age children), plant food and soil additive for our garden, tickets to events, toilet cleanser,  combs and brushes, electronic gadgets for out teens, and any vehicles (cars,  trucks, vans, or RV’s.)
  4. A house or money to buy a house for a new Catholic Worker center. Call Larry for a free cup of coffee.
  5. Teachers for our English Language School. Call Pam 365-6019.
  6. Tutors for our afterschool tutoring program. Call Sr. Mary Jane (650) 366-8315.
  7. Your ongoing love and support.

Education: A Priority of the Catholic Worker …Sept. 2016 Newsletter

Dear Friends,
For over 40 years the Redwood City Catholic Worker has had two major priorities – HOUSING AND EDUCATION.
    Most of you are familiar with our home for troubled teens.  Almost all of the hundreds of teens who have lived with us were required to go to high school or college (every day and every class) and get “C” grades or better.  The majority of our teens eventually graduated from H.S. and many went on to college. We believe that today education is a prerequisite for life.
    For over 25 years, our English Language School (also here in Redwood City) has helped women learn English.  At our school, 15 volunteer teachers help 45-55 adult women learn to speak English.  In the afternoons, another group of volunteer tutors help children with homework and reading and math skills.
    Last year we helped 7 teens with college scholarship grants of $2,000 each. Six of them did very well and one dropped out.  For the past 10 years we have annually funded school scholarships to Tanzania for children and adults.  At one time, there were 44 scholarships there.  This program is called “The Mission” and was started by a local group of women and their families.  The organizers of “The Mission” travel to Africa (on their own dime) every year to interview the recipients of these grants before, during and after their schooling.
    For the past two years, we have helped raise “seed money” ($10,000 a year) for an exciting Summer School program in San Francisco’s inner city.  To qualify for this innovative program a student (mostly minorities) must have major academic problems at their H.S. (June Jordan)  The teachers for this program are hand picked.  At the culmination of their educational experience, the teens must give oral presentations to their classmates and to the people who helped fund their rescue schooling. When I attended their presentations, their tearful descriptions of being raped, being impoverished and homeless while going to high school and their joy and hope at finding teachers who cared, was overwhelming.

Chaplain Lyn's car is full of backpacks and hygiene supplies.

Chaplain Lyn’s car is full of backpacks and hygiene supplies.

 By the way, for over 30 years we have supplied 75 to 100 backpacks filled with school supplies to children.

Veteran's Chaplain Lyn Juckniess brings backpacks for children and adults.

 Chaplain Lyn Juckniess brings backpacks for children and adults. 

    In addition to these regular commitments, we have also been able to facilitate the donation of truckloads of business furniture (chairs, desks, tables,  filing cabinets, paper products, etc) to Notre Dame High School, Our Lady of Mt Carmel School, St. Matthias Preschool, Roy Cloud Elementary School,  Woodside High School, Sequoia High School and miscellaneous other schools.  The source of most of these donations is none other than the famous Brother Robert (retired).  It was his contact that donated 4 pallets of new cases of paper.  That paper went everywhere. God is good.
    So, to say it again, at the Redwood City Catholic Worker, we are heavily committed to HOUSING AND EDUCATION.  We thank God for the grace to do this work and we thank you, our supporters, for helping us help.

Larry Purcell for all of us.
Sept. 2016


  1. Household needs:  Food in any amount. Garbage bags, pots and pans, laptop computers, electronic stuff, tickets to events, DVD’s for the movie library at the Catholic Worker,  ipads or other electronic stuff,  Kleenex, toiletries, etc.

       2.   Transportation:  Bikes, locks, helmets, cars, trucks, RV’s,.  After housing,  transportation is the number 1 need. Call Susan (650) 366-4415

      3. Money for education: college scholarships ($2,000 each)  To fun our English Language School for one year, the cost is  $12,000. In January we hope to send our final subsidy to Africa ($5,000).

     4. The kitchen floor at the Catholic Worker House for teens is developing holes; we need new linoleum.

     5. A house or money to buy a house for a new Catholic Worker Center. Call Larry  (650) 366-4415. I’ll give you a free cup of coffee.

  1. Teachers & tutors for our English Language School. Call Pam (650) 365-6019 for teachers and Mary Jane (650) 366-8315 for tutors.

Non-violent Resistance to War

Call Susan  or Larry for details (650) 366-4415 

Sunday Sept 18th 9:30am at Santa Clara University we will protest ROTC. Join the Bay Area Pacific Life Community in witnessing to nonviolence by challenging Santa Clara University to teach peace and end their ROTC program.  We will vigil outside the Santa Clara Mission Church on 9/18 before and after the 10am mass.  We will gather at 9:30am at the corner of Franklin St. and Alviso St. in Santa Clara.

Friday Sept 23rd 12 Noon at Lockheed in Sunnyvale to protest first strike nuclear weapons that are made right there.

Oct. 14th 11:45 am at Santa Clara University to again protest ROTC

English Language School report: May 2016 Newsletter

“I thank my God whenever I think of you; and every time I pray for all of you, I pray with Joy, remembering how you have helped to spread the Good News from the first day you heard it right up to the present….You have a permanent place in my heart, and God knows how much I miss you all…My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more…so that you can always recognize what is best.”  (Philippians 1)

May 2016
Dear Friends, 

The English Language School of the Catholic Worker House has been teaching English to adult women & men and tutoring children for over 20 years.  At lest 15 volunteer teachers and a separate group of 15 tutors  have shared their talents with the poor and they have become one of our most important works.

The following is written by Sr. Mary Jane Floyd who has been a teacher for over 65 years.  Sr. Mary Jane and a group of about 5 other women organize the registration, teaching, tutoring and everything else that happens at our English Language School.

“Do You Remember Me?”

Last week a young woman and her mother came to the front door of our English Language School where I live.  The young woman said to me, “Do you remember me?” Well, honestly I didn’t so I asked her to refresh my memory.  What a wonderful surprise when she responded, “I’m Giovanna. You tutored me, my two sisters and my little brother.”  Then it all came rushing back to me.  Giovanna is now graduating from Cal Berkeley and going on to higher education.  Her brother and sisters are also doing very well.  Carmen, their mother, was inspirational.  Every day after regular school she gathered up her children and brought them to the schoolhouse (we call it Joan’s House) for tutoring.  She was so grateful for the help her children got because she had been unable to help them.  English was hard for her and her own education was minimal.

They were in the neighborhood that day and Giovanna wondered if I, Mary Jane, were still around! By the grace of God I am!  The house hadn’t changed much and I invited them back to the big room filled with children and tutors working together to do homework.  In the midst of tears, Giovanna recognized her tutors Sid, Joe, and JoAnne. They had helped her and she called out their names.  She thanked them and a few more tears were shed – all tears of happiness.  It was a beautiful thing.

Each afternoon a different group of tutors come and they would all have been happy to see this young woman too.  John Brey retired from tutoring last year.  He began volunteering with us some twenty years ago and would have been proud, as would the many other tutors who have helped this family and so many many other children.  It is a beautiful thing to see our tutors in a huddle discussing some math problem.  It is a beautiful thing to see other tutors bringing books home to “catch up” to better teach our children.  Our tutors, each and all, have touched the lives of our children in special ways.  It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing to see tutors showing kindergarten students how to read and running their fingers along with the child as they sound out the words.

This newsletter gives me the opportunity to mention the selfless work of our teachers who teach English to women and men at night.  A wonderful community has happened and that too is a beautiful thing.

There are those donors who on a regular basis bring rice and beans or who bring school supplies or make donations of books to be used so that no one has to pay anything at our school.  So many of you help from the goodness of your hearts.  It truly is a beautiful thing.

Do we still need teachers and tutors? Yes,  and we always will because no computer or other technological invention can take the place of the human, loving touch which is the most beautiful thing.


Sr. Mary Jane Floyd for all of us.


  1. FOOD in any amount.
  2. Household needs: shampoo and razors for hygiene kits, gallon size zip-lock freezer bags,  bikes, locks and lights for bikes, sleeping bags, a trunk bike rack, large garbage bags, backpacks for Sept. when school starts, and detergent.
  3. Cars, bikes, RVs, trailers, trucks (3/4 ton pick up is needed).

     4.    We have some major work to be done on our home for Day Laborers. We  need a volunteer contractor or carpenter. Call Larry 650-366-4415. 

     5.  A house or money to buy a house for another Catholic Worker center.

      6. Check out www.rwdcw.wordpress.com for current stuff on us.

       7.  Your ongoing love and support.  Again this year we will offer scholarships of up to $2,000 to  individual college students.
If you can, help call Larry (650) 366-4415.