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.