“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.